Joseph. He appears in the genealogy of Jesus Christ. He is in the lineage of kings, but he seems obscure in the small town of Nazareth.
His character shines through when he is confronted with an impossibility. His betrothed is pregnant, and he knows it is not his child. What is a law-abiding Jewish man to do?
While he contemplates a humane way of getting out of his contract and somehow protecting Mary’s life, he dreams a dream. “An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “ ‘Joseph son of David.’ ”
How long had it been since he thought about his heritage? How long since he felt like someone other than a simple carpenter?
Sometimes we need to be reminded who we are.
To Joseph belongs the honor of remaining true to his calling. He listened when God spoke. He believed the word of the Lord. He obeyed when asked to do the hard thing.
Though we hear little of him after the first couple of chapters in the gospels of Matthew and Luke, he stands tall in courage and faithfulness. He was chosen, just like Mary, to make a family and a home for the Son of God. He would model what a godly man looks like to this Child come from heaven.
In honor of Joseph, I pay tribute to those who follow in his footsteps.
To all the men who have been father to other men’s children.
To those who accepted responsibility to provide for those in their care, to love them when they didn’t have to.
To the men who said “I do” and committed to love their wives for a lifetime, a covenant that will not be broken.
To those who gave their name, their identity, their heritage.
To the men who taught their children what a good day’s work is, what it looks like to lead lovingly, and how to build character and integrity into a life.
To those who worked with their sons and danced with their daughters.
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You are an important part of the story, just like Joseph was in the life of Jesus. Though he was not the birth father, he put on the cloak of duty without concern for himself. He forsook fear and lifted the shield of faith. He disregarded the questions about his honor and what others thought about him. He had been given the truth and that was enough.
It was enough for Joseph to obey where he was called, to go forward and not look back.
And he, Joseph, called His name Yeshua.
The angel said, “Joseph, descendant of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife. The baby in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son. You will name the son Jesus. Give him that name because he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:20-21