On Facebook I just wrote the following silliness:
The most implausible aspect of the Christmas story isn’t the Virgin Birth. Rather, it’s a guy telling his wife, “I had a dream last night, pack the kid, we’re moving to Egypt,” and she says, “OK.”
(BTW, if you’re not my Friend on Facebook, I really have to wonder about your priorities in life.)
But joking aside, I really do think Joseph doesn’t get much attention in these things. There’s a lot of emphasis on Mary, and of course on Jesus, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard a preacher talk much about Joseph.
The best glimpse we get at the kind of guy he was comes from Matthew 1: 18-25:
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”
24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son.[d] And he called His name Jesus.
Growing up, I always liked the part I put in bold above. Joseph was a just man, so he couldn’t in good conscience marry a girl who had become pregnant by another man, but at the same time he was a “nice guy” and wasn’t going to publicly humiliate her for this affront to him, even though plenty of other people would have in his shoes. I think his reaction foreshadows that of his Son when encountering a similar situation (except the woman was actually guilty in Jesus’ presence).