The Characters of Christmas: Joseph

“…an angel of the Lord appeared to (Joseph) in a dream and said, ‘…do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit'” (Matthew 1:20, NIV).

The phrase “a chip off the old block” seems fitting when it comes to Jesus and his earthly father, Joseph. One can almost picture a young Jesus standing among the saw dust and filings fallen from Joseph’s work bench. From the time of Jesus’ infancy, Joseph served as an example of maturity, sacrifice, and so many other traits that would later be evidenced in Jesus’ life.

To say that Joseph overcame the many challenges of fatherhood would be a bit of an understatement. The announcement of his betrothed that she was pregnant, along with an angelic visit corroborating her seemingly preposterous story, would have been more than most men could handle. Still, Joseph remained faithful to Mary and to the God-given task at hand, raising the Savior of all mankind. 

It’s likely that Joseph died at an early age, before he could witness all that Jesus would become. Still, Joseph’s example lived on in the life of his son. Perhaps Jesus recalled Joseph’s treatment of Mary as he stood in defense of the woman caught in the act of adultery. Likely, Jesus considered his earthly father’s compassion for others as he arranged from the cross an informal adoption between Mary and John, who would now be the one to take care of Mary into her old age. 

I wonder if Joseph, as he stood beside Mary and the manger, understood the influence he would have upon Jesus.  Could Joseph have known that this child wrapped so warmly in cloths was his Savior? I’m certain that Joseph, like Mary, pondered these and so many other things in his heart as that first Christmas night surrendered to the light of a new day.

 

 

 

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