The Unsuspecting Father

The Christmas season is full of amazing stories. Each year, we roll out the old favorites to tell and retell in growing anticipation of the Big Day. But of these Christmas favorites there is one story which always seems to leave me scratching my head in wonder year after year.

Through the Gospel of Matthew, we receive a unique recollection of the Christmas story through the eyes of an unsuspecting father. Joseph was a regular guy. Part of a family tree with roots firmly planted in his native soil, he had his own feet firmly planted on the ground. Joseph must have brought in a dependable income from his talents as a craftsman given his status as an expectant groom. Sturdy, stable, dependable, grounded. These are a few words I would use to describe the man about to take Mary as his bride.

It comes as no surprise when Joseph finds out about Mary’s expectant condition that there is talk of separation. At least Joseph’s solution seemed humane. Send Mary away quietly and he might preserve a little dignity for them both in an otherwise scandalous situation. But everything changed for this sturdy, dignified fellow when an angel came to him in a dream.

We all know the rest of the story, the angel tells Joseph about the miraculous nature of Christ’s birth and encourages him not to send Mary away. Joseph in turn takes on this huge responsibility because of the love he has for his future wife and child but perhaps more than that because of his love for God.

Oddly enough, this story reminds me a lot of student ministry. You may see yourself as the most stable, dependable, grounded leader out there but what would happen if a student came to you with a problem, I mean a REAL problem? Will you send the student away discreetly or will you shoulder the responsibility?

Take a lesson from our friend Joseph, the unsuspecting father. Lean into your calling with all you’ve got. It’ll be messy. That’s a guarantee. But it’s what God has put in front of you.


Zachariah Seanor is the national consultant for Royal Ambassadors, Challengers, and Youth on Mission; husband to an amazing wife; and lover of the great outdoors. When he’s not in the office writing blogs, he enjoys warm fires, cool summer nights, and long walks with his border collie, Nellie.

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