“As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus,[a] for he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1.20-21
When we think of Joseph in the Bible, most of us think of Jacobs son in the Old Testament who had a coat of many colors, whose brothers sold him into slavery and who rose to power in Egypt only to save his family from a drought. And although this Joseph gets a lot of press in the Bible, it’s not the Jospeh in the Christmas story.
The Jospeh of our discussion is the father of Jesus who in the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1 and is recorded this this way — “Elihud the father of Eleazar, Eleazar the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah.” (Matthew 1:15-16) This Jospeh was from the line of David from which the Messiah would come. That is significant. Even the angels refers to him as “Jospeh, Son of David.”
It seems that in the Christmas story and beyond that Mary gets way more attention than Jospeh. She is the one who bore the Christ child and is elevated highly in the church especially by our Roman Catholic friends. But just because Jospeh didn’t give birth or help conceive Jesus doesn’t mean he should get any less attention.
It says about him in Matthew 1 that an angel of the Lord appeared to Jospeh in a dream, for the was thinking about divorcing her quietly when he heard she was pregnant. And the angel told Jospeh the “child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit.” He is also given the privilege of naming the boy “Jesus” because “he will save the people from their sins.
As we continue our spiritual preparation toward Christmas it’s important to remember Joseph. He too had preparations to make in order to be the dad to the Son of God. And I can only imagine what a great dad he was. Could Jesus have been as secure as he was in his relationship with his Heavenly Father had he not had an earthly father who loved him, encouraged him and helped him become a man?
The preparation of the birth of the Christ child includes the sacrifice Jospeh made to remain with Mary and father a child that was not biologically his own. It took obedience, faithfulness and strength to love Jesus. I believe Jospeh did just that and was a father to whom Jesus looked up to and loved.
And whereas Mary is a rockstar in her own right, Jospeh was the stage crew that held the family together, cared for mother and child, and took them to safety In Egypt when King Herod was looking for this boy to kill. Preparing for Christmas involves taking notice of a father who was called to raise up another Father’s son.
What assignments have you been given by God that will take all your strength, attention and faith to accomplish? How can you prepare your heart to receive Jesus by giving thanks for Jospeh, a man selected among many to raise the Son of God?
“O Lord God, I wish there was more about Jospeh in the Bible. But children often reflect their parents and I believe Jesus reflected his earthly father. Thank you Lord for assignments like these that you give to your people for the growth of your kingdom. Come Holy Spirit, fill us with your love and help us be all that you have called and created us to be. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen