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  • Elle

On the fourth day of Christmas

God sent Joseph. He sent faith and obedience.

On the Fourth Day of Christmas, God sent Joseph. He sent faith and obedience.

Matthew 1:18-21, 24: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child...Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins…Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS."

Dear friends and family,

Joseph is often an overlooked character in the story of Jesus’ life. We honor Jesus’ mother, Mary, as we should, and we marvel at the birth of God’s son, as we should, but we don’t often pause and think about the man, the adopted father of Jesus, and how going forward with the marriage to Mary, the mother of Jesus, forever changed his life. We don’t contemplate the fact that Joseph taking Mary as his wife was a humbling act, as all in their community would know that the child she carried was not his. While we don’t know much of Joseph, we discover very quickly his loving and honorable character by his words and his deeds.

Had Judah been a free land, Joseph would have been the rightful king of Judah, as a direct descendant of King David; however, due to the reign of the Herods and the subjugation of the Jews, Joseph was a carpenter, a “just man,”[1] living a humble life on the hillside town of Nazareth. We know that Joseph was espoused to Mary, his first cousin, who was also a direct descendant of King David, with the official marriage ceremony to take place within a year or two of the betrothal. And we know that, upon discovering that Mary was already with child, “before they had come together,”1 Joseph had a difficult decision to make, and Joseph, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace Mary, decided to take the honorable path and set aside their betrothal privately.

But an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and told him to not be afraid to take Mary as his wife, for the child she carried was the Son of God. Joseph was told to “call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”[2] Under Jewish law, by instructing Joseph to name Jesus himself, the angel was not only providing Mary a husband but also giving Jesus an earthly father and the royal lineage of “The King of the Jews.”

Joseph, being obedient, did what he was instructed to do, even at the cost of his own reputation. When we reflect on Joseph’s mission in life, we discover that God chose Joseph because God knew that Jesus would need a man who was of deep faith and conviction – who would obey God, no matter the cost – as Jesus’ earthly father. God chose Joseph because He wanted an honorable man to love Jesus. God chose Joseph because Joseph had the self-discipline to look beyond worldly circumstances and see the eternal perspective. God chose Joseph, a man of God, to adopt and help raise up the Son of God.

While we don’t know for sure, it is suspected that Joseph died sometime after Jesus turned 12 but before Jesus began ministering around His 30th birthday. We know Joseph lived long enough to pass on the carpenter trade to Jesus, but that he was not named as present during the wedding where water was turned to wine or at Jesus’ feet during the crucifixion. It is incomprehensible for me to believe that Joseph, who had been there when Jesus took His first breath, who had adopted and loved Jesus as his own son, would not have been there when Jesus took His last, unless death had prevented Joseph from physically being there.

The words to the first song below wrongly assume that Joseph had survived Jesus’ crucifixion, but the spirit of the message is important and is worth overlooking an incorrect timeline. The words to the second song remind us that Joseph was more than a husband to Mary, more than an adult male in the life of Jesus. Joseph loved the baby born of Mary and filled the very important role as the earthly father to the son of God. What a remarkable man!

On the fourth day of Christmas, God sent Joseph. He sent faith and obedience.

Love always,

Hubby and Elle

I Was Not His Father, He Was Mine

Michael McLean

He was working late one evening

With the wood he knew so well

When she thought

she recognized him

Though at first,

She really couldn't tell

As she humbly begged his pardon

A strange sadness swelled inside

When she asked,

"Aren't you the father

Of that man they crucified?"

Then the carpenter repeated

What he's said so many times

He said, "I as not His father,

He was mine."

Then he humbly went on working

With those worn

and caloused hands

Though she did not ask

more questions

He knew she didn't understand.

So he asked if she would help him

And he saw her answer

in a glance

She did all the chores

he asked her

She was so grateful for the chance

Then they talked for hours of Jesus

And how he knew He was divine

He said "I was not His father,

He was mine.

For how could one

So foolish and so flawed

Ever hope to raise

the Son of God?"

Then he spoke

of the misgivings

That he had had

a thousand times

And how Jesus found

the tender moments

To let him know

He had done just fine

And then the carpenter recited

The greatest truths

he'd ever learned

And testified

they all came form Jesus

And then her heart

within her burned

They embraced as she departed,

And Joseph told her one more time,

"Tell them I was not His father

Tell them He was mine

No, I was not His father,

He is mine."

Joseph’s Lullaby

By MercyMe

Go to sleep my Son This manger for Your bed You have a long road before You Rest Your little head

Can You feel the weight of Your glory? Do You understand the price? Or does the Father guard Your heart for now So You can sleep tonight?

Go to sleep my Son Go and chase Your dreams This world can wait for one more moment Go and sleep in peace

I believe the glory of Heaven Is lying in my arms tonight But Lord, I ask that He for just this moment Simply be my child

Go to sleep my Son Baby, close Your eyes Soon enough You'll save the day But for now, dear Child of mine Oh, my Jesus Sleep tight

[1] Matthew 1:19 [2] Matthew 1:20-21


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