We had SNOW on Friday. At the end of a hard, sorrowful week following my mother-in-law’s death, we awoke to Houston blanketed in white-velvet gorgeousness. We squealed. We hit each other with snowballs. We built hideous last-minute snowmen before heading to school once the district sent out the world’s saddest tweet: Roads are passable so buses are rolling. See you soon for a great day of learning.
I gave a half-smile to heaven as we drove through our snow-bedecked neighborhood and said, “Thank you. Yes, she would have loved this.”
Amazing grace sparkled everywhere in a city still climbing out of the flood that swamped us. Houstonians have laughed and laughed that in just a six-week span we whooped it up for the World Series and scampered about in uncommon snow. We’re waiting for pigs to go airborne any minute now.
But I think we also have a tenderness of heart that prompts a deep savoring of Christmas and a fresh view of a familiar story.Right now, I’m re-reading the Christmas narrative from the perspectives of Elizabeth, Mary, and Anna, thanks to Liz Curtis Higgs’ The Women of Christmas. What’s surprised me the last few days, though, is how much Joseph has been on my mind.
I think it’s because since August, I’ve been more attuned to the uncommon courage of common, hard-working “Average Joes” all around me. No wonder this particular Joe catches my attention.
Higgs says about Joseph, the man who loved and cared for God’s Son and for the woman who birthed Him, “Here’s something that often goes unnoticed: Joseph doesn’t say a word in Scripture. He wasn’t unable to speak, as Zechariah was. But whatever Joseph said, his words came and went unrecorded.”
The ultimate strong, silent type. The kind of Joe whose actions spoke louder than words.
Joseph stepped up to a calling he couldn’t have imagined, something far more mind-bending than either a World Series win for a team who’d been dead last a few years before or two inches of snow in a town that still gets temps near 80 in winter. From what we know in Scripture, he remained faithful to protect and provide for the One who would save us all.
I’ve seen a few other men with that kind of courage and faithfulness, too. We can’t help it here in Houston—the stories of uncommon bravery from unlikely heroes are all around us. When Harvey flooded us, who were most effective at high-water rescues? Average Joe fishermen from Louisiana’s “Cajun Navy” who showed up with their bass boats and knew how to run shallow and navigate currents.
But the guys who are impacting me right now are the ones in my own family: my father-in-law who has fulfilled his vow to cherish his wife of “in sickness and in health,” my husband who moves heaven and earth to show up for the kids’ concerts but who also steals us away from the busyness for spontaneous ice cream runs, and my dad who texts me to come have coffee or cornbread or pot roast just because he loves being with me.
These men, these Average Joes who love with actions and words, are out there. They are good, godly men who treat others with dignity and honor in a world where, at least according to social media, such things appear to be uncommon. So this Christmas, they need the gift of our thanks and our love.
But don’t be surprised if they tell you no thanks is necessary. After all, these Average Joes? Well, they’re just doing their jobs.