St. Joseph is a model of quiet, often thankless work that paves the way for Jesus to be known and loved.
George Weigel describes the history of God’s dealing with humanity as “an extraordinary story involving some utterly ordinary people.”
An adopted son of a slave with a speech impediment is used by God to accomplish the greatest saving act of the Old Testament. The King of Persia’s bartender is used by God to restore the city of Jerusalem after its destruction at the hand of Babylon. A group of ragtag fishermen and rabbinic school dropouts are used by God to establish the Christian Church, and are told by Jesus that they will spend the rest of their lives doing “greater things than these.”
And right in the middle of this extraordinary story lies Joseph of Bethlehem. An ordinarily quiet dad who works hard, forsakes his legal freedom to dismiss Mary, and instead bears the brunt of communal shame so his new wife doesn’t have to. (Not to mention that his first experience in parenting involved raising the Son of God.)
I am the proud owner of multiple pairs of socks that feature Saints from the Scriptures and Christian history. The side of each sock bears the image of the Saint, and on the bottom of each foot is a famous quote from their life and work.
As a (sometimes) quiet dad myself, I naturally own a pair of Saint Joseph socks.
And printed on the bottom of each foot is the following quote:
- St. Joseph
Joseph has no recorded words in the Christian Scriptures. He is visited by an angel. He leads his family on several journeys: first to Bethlehem for the less-than-glamorous birth of Jesus, then to Egypt, this time as refugees. And after several quiet years in Egypt, Joseph leads his family once more to settle down in the podunk town of Nazareth. And from this point on, we know very little about how Joseph spent the rest of his days.
We see in St. Joseph a model of quiet, often thankless work that paves the way for Jesus to be known and loved.
Habit to Adopt: At some point throughout our week, we all have quiet, thankless work to do. We are washing the dishes, or filing papers, or taking out the trash. The next time you catch yourself doing this routine work, turn off the TV, take out the headphones, or otherwise limit distractions. Allow the quiet—and the noise of the work itself—to remind you to pray that God will use your otherwise menial task to somehow make Jesus known and loved.