We don’t know much about Joseph.
At least I don’t.
I know he was a carpenter.
But I can’t think of one other thing I know about him other than-
His son was Jesus.
Yet, this Christmas I find myself thinking about him and his role in THE story.
The story of a baby.
A baby King.
A baby King that was born in a manger inside of a stable, because his parents had traveled for miles and miles to a city that was too full for them.
A baby King, both God and man.
Who would save the world.
I’m always amazed when I think about the humble beginnings of our Lord and Savior. It doesn’t get more meager than spending your first hours in an animal feeding trough. It is amazingly incomprehensible that He was completely GOD as he nursed, as he cried, as he had his diaper changed. And He would grow up to save the world. He was worshipped from the beginning yet in the beginning, he was completely reliant on his parents.
His parents, Mary and Joseph.
I’m always amazed when I think about the delivery Mary endured. She found out from an angel that she had conceived a baby without ever having slept with her fiancé. She faced certain ostracization and there would always be those who wouldn’t believe her, or believe in Him. And THEN she got on a donkey. A DONKEY at 9 months pregnant. She endured the ride and then lay down in a bed of hay to deliver her child. A child she knew would grow to be Lord, Savior, KING. Knowing he was completely GOD, she would nurse him, rock him when he cried, change his diaper. And she would worship Him from the very beginning, while he was still completely reliant on his parents.
His parents, Mary AND JOSEPH.
But to be honest, I haven’t ever really been amazed by Joseph. Maybe never even really considered him. A carpenter. A carpenter who knew that his son was completely God as he lead the unborn child’s mother on a donkey, as he watched his new wife nurse him, as he rocked him when he cried, maybe even when he changed his diaper. And he would worship him from the very beginning. Worship him knowing that this baby, though not his blood, was entrusted to him, to his ancestors, to all of those that had come before him.
And this Christmas I find myself thinking about that carpenter. A carpenter to whom I’ve never really given much thought. And it turns out, he’s kinda significant to the King’s presence in this world. Because in the gospel of Matthew, the lineage of Christ comes through Joseph and his father and his fathers’ father. From David, down through a baby king. A baby king that was his son, but not his. Not by blood or conception. I’ve heard about the significance of those in the lineage of Christ, the imperfect people who paved a perfect path for a savior to enter the world. But I’ve never considered that the heritage of Christ, in Matthew at least, comes through Joseph.
And for Christmas, that means a lot. Because in many ways, Joseph CHOSE to be the father of Jesus. By faith he married a pregnant virgin. By faith he led a donkey to Bethlehem. By faith, he took on the role of protecting the King before he could take care of himself. He fled more than once to find a safe place for the tiny King when Herod hunted him. And when the pre-teen king went missing, he scoured the roads and towns to find him.
His blood was not in the boy, but the boy was his son. His sweet tiny adopted son. Who would save the world!
I cannot imagine the faith that took. The faith to take on that role, explained to you by an angel, knowing it would not make sense to much of the rest of the world. The faith to marry a woman and commit with her to raise the Lord they would worship. To be so determined to spend every once of your being protecting this King. No matter what.
And I wonder. What in the WORLD did Joseph’s parents think? How did he explain to them- THIS is what I was made to do. This is what I’ll be remembered for. And that is what I know about Joseph. He WAS the father of Christ. He chose to be the Daddy to a baby that needed to be protected, like no other baby ever was.
And because of that choice, and because of the lineage in the gospel Matthew, I also know something about Joseph’s father and his father’s father and those that came before him. They created a legacy of faith that would ultimately give one man the strength to accept the responsibility of adopting and protecting the Son of God.
This Christmas Eve, I find myself praying for a legacy like Joseph’s father. And Joseph’s father’s father. Oh sweet Lord, give us strength. Strength to encourage and teach our children in a way that will allow each of them to do what they were made to do.