On a family trip to Italy on the Millenial year, after we saw the Sistine Chapel, the Hall of Maps, the courtyard with the enormous machine-like sphere, our family wandered through the rest of the Vatican museum, only half-paying attention. In one of the glass cases was this very small sculpture; in my memory not more than a few inches tall. It depicts Joseph pulling on the donkey while Mary, swaddled and very round, leans into the wind, shown by the cant of the bodies, the donkey's tail and Joseph's robes.
This small sculpture reminds me to think about Joseph and his devotion not only to his espoused wife Mary, but also to the cause of bringing Christ the King to his earthly kingdom. He had to not only obey the law of the land in paying taxes, the laws of nature as he worked against the wind, the stubborn donkey, his Mary nearly delivered of child, and the laws of the marketplace as he tried to find a place for his family.
There are always those who are behind the scenes, pulling the donkeys forward, caring for others who remain the focus. If not for Joseph's determination to do the right, the world might have shifted slightly on its eternal axis, tilting us off our Christ-centered mark. May we all revere the Christ child in the manner of Joseph: shoulder against the wind, focused on the babe from heaven.