“Do not despise your own place and hour. Every place is under the stars, every place is the center of the world.”
― John Burroughs, Studies in Nature and Literature
This was the first Nativity scene I purchased for my family, and I chose it for its rustic look. I loved that you could see details without everything looking too perfect or contrived. The first time I unpacked it, I couldn’t have been more pleased, and I enjoyed the reverence with which I placed each figure in its symbolic place.
Then I stepped back and looked at the scene. Where was Joseph? Had I forgotten to unpack him? No. He just was…absent. I wondered if it was accidental neglect on the part of the designer or was it purposeful?
I always reflect after Christmas; about Christmas and what it means to me, about how long it took me to decorate the house and how long I will leave the decorations up, about how sad it makes me to clean up the wrapping paper left over from Christmas morning’s frenzy, about the year that was, about all kinds of things really. In addition to all those things, this year I find myself pondering why would Joseph be left out of a nativity scene. And it bothers me.
Joseph was an important part of the plan. Maybe not THE most important part, but certainly an indispensable one. If at any point he would have said, “YOU PEOPLE ARE CRAZY!! I’M NOT DOING THAT!!!”, history would have been written differently. Even though there aren’t any words that Joseph spoke recorded in any of the documents from that time in history, we know because of how the events played out that he didn’t say those things. He went along with the plan. He did several things that were above and beyond what was expected of a normal man of his day and age. The extraordinary leaps of faith the man took warrant him a place in every nativity story told, and I find myself heartbroken that he would be ignored by the maker of the set I purchased.
Sigh. All this to say…
Don’t ever forget that we are all part of a marvelous plan, whether or not we consider ourselves a key player. Our role is important, both to people around us and maybe even to those far and wide. We might not ever know the reach of our influence, but we should never for one second think that our life doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. It does.
Live boldly, and purposefully, for you are a part of history in the making.