Day 2

And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” —Matthew 1:19–21

No discussion of the Nativity of Christ can be complete without considering Joseph. His role in this cannot be overlooked. As much as the Virgin Mary is an example for each of us, so too is Joseph. His willingness to accept the facts of what was taking place, through faith, is something to truly behold.
 
As Fr. Stavros tells us, Orthodox Tradition tells us that Joseph was an elderly man, a widow with children from a previous marriage. One can only imagine how difficult it was for him to grasp and come to terms with the fact that his young women, to whom he was betrothed, was already with child. A child that was most certainly not his.
 
But his willingness to put his faith in God is something that we must see, that we must imitate:
 
“Joseph, son of David, do not fear to make Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save his people from their sins.”

“when Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took his wife but knew her not until she had borne a son; and he called his name Jesus”

Fr. Stavros sets before us two lessons we must learn from Joseph:
 
1. He was an ordinary man with extraordinary faith. Think about that for a minute...an ordinary man with extraordinary faith. I would imagine that most of us consider ourselves ordinary. We aren't famous, incredibly wealthy, or even held high in the eyes of society. We live normal, ordinary lives: going to school, work, perhaps retired. But we can still have extraordinary faith. We just have to believe and put our trust in God.
 
2. The second lesson is that Joseph was willing to risk what little he did have to take Mary as his wife. He was willing t risk his comfort, his job, even his friends. That is an interesting word...risk. We don't often associate risk with our faith. But if we are to truly live our faith, we certainly do accept risk. 
 
Our lives as Orthodox Christians do not always fit with the whims of society or the desires of our friends and sometimes even family. Joseph found himself at a tipping point: of accepting God's will (salvation) or denying it (losing that salvation). Truthfully, we find ourselves at that tipping point daily, in the choices that we face daily. Day in and day out, the choices we make may not seem that important, but they are. They are a matter of salvation.
 
I would like to close today's email with a direct quote from Fr. Stavros:
 
An extraordinary person with little faith is rather ordinary in the eyes of God. An ordinary person with extraordinary faith, is extraordinary in the eyes of God. What kind of faith do you have? What kind of faith do you want to have? If you were standing in the presence of God right now, how would HE describe your faith?

I pray that this second day of the Nativity Fast offers you choices that you are willing to take.
 
In Christ
Fr. David