Jesus, the Virgin Mary, and even the Three Kings come to mind at Christmastime, but rarely do Christians think of humble Joseph. James Martin, a Jesuit priest, writes in Slate that forgetting the man who raised Jesus—the reason for the season—is unfair. "It's time to take a fresh look at this 'model' and restore him to his rightful place in the Christmas story," he says.
Joseph fades into the background of nativity scenes because his marriage to Mary conflicts with Catholicism's teachings on her 'perpetual virginity.' But remember, Martin notes, that Joseph protected Jesus and Mary when they were threatened by Herod's henchmen. And throughout his life, the carpenter represented "the holiness of the 'hidden life,' doing meaningful things without fanfare." Though he gets scant mention in the Gospels, "he carried out an astonishingly important task: raising the son of God."