“Live and in person” Advent devotion for December 22, 2020. Read Matthew 1:18-25 and Psalm 116.
“When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.” (Matthew 1:24-25)
I’m sure Joseph never imagined his life would take a turn in this direction. An angel in a dream? A pregnant fiancee (and it’s not your baby!)? Marry that woman and trust that God has a hand in this? Raise a child spoken of in prophecy? Suddenly, you have a part to play in God’s plan of salvation for the world. I imagine it would be a bit overwhelming.
The part of Joseph isn’t much in a typical Christmas play. He’s not much compared to angels, shepherds, or even the innkeeper (who isn’t even in the biblical account of Jesus’ birth!). He’s an innocent bystander. Collateral damage. A descendant of David, and therefore the connection with Bethlehem.
But Joseph is the one who has the dreams. He’s the one who hears from the Lord. He’s the one who shuttles the Christ around in accordance with the prophecies. He’s the “carpenter” associated with Jesus. He’s the one who will fade into the sunset by the time Jesus begins his public ministry. After he and Mary find Jesus in the temple at age twelve, we never hear from him again.
But he makes into the pages of scripture. Luke tells us that he carefully compiled his account of Jesus’ life. Do you think he talked to Joseph?
I think that would have been a great conversation. “You heard from God in a dream? What was that like?” “How did you feel when you learned that Mary was pregnant?” “What was it like being the dad of the Messiah?” It would be amazing to spend a day with Joseph!
No one plays a minor part in God’s plan. Each of us is an important brick in the temple built upon the prophets and apostles, with Christ as the cornerstone, where God dwells in His spirit (Eph. 2:19-22).
Joseph got to teach Jesus how to work with wood. I loved learning a craft from my father. I loved teaching my children, too. I’ll bet he loved every minute he got to spend with his son! And I’ll bet his son loved every minute he got to spend with his dad. Parents: never forget how much your kids love spending time with you!
Heavenly Father, thank you for sending your son to spend time with me. Amen.