Joseph, the surrogate father of Jesus has been in my mind a great deal this year. I find different years bring up different emphasises. Then I received an e-card. I’m not a lover of these but this one brought tears to my eyes. With the background of the carol ‘Little Donkey’, it depicted the journey to Bethlehem. I expect the couple were travelling alone as Mary’s out-of-wedlock condition would mean they were ostracised. One scene showed the couple huddled by a small fire alone way out in the desert.

As part of my Advent reading this year I’m reading of Joseph’s dilemma. A relatively old man he looked forward to love and a future with the young Mary. Then he discovered a supposed infidelity. An angel tried to explain and allay his fears. I imagine the subsequent visits of the shepherds and wise men would help to prove the angel’s words. What a tremendous responsibility he was given!