Joseph, Luke 1:26-38, Advent Midweek 2, December 11, 2019
This is the way I see it. My name is Joseph; you probably know my wife better; she is much more famous than I am. I’m the lesser half some might say. We are very average people, at least in the beginning, before all the hoo-ha.
We are from a small tribe, in a small town called Nazareth. And we have always been poor. People always make fun of Nazarenes, our accent and our simple ways. People will say, “nothing good ever came out of Nazareth!”
We Israelites are very proud and protective of our God given land. We called it our promised land because Abraham our father made a covenant with God.
By trade, I’m a carpenter. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always loved being around wood. If you’ve been around wood, you know what I mean. Wood has personality; it can be turned into wonderful shapes and beautiful forms. Fresh cut wood has a special smell, especially when there are shavings under your feet and sawdust in your hair.
Mary and I met through our parents, as our culture dictates. I am considerably older than Mary, but I love her dearly and she loves me too.
When we got engaged it was a wonderful day, the whole town, all 500 people came out to celebrate. Everybody said, “Oh what a cute couple”.
Everything was going so well, I was as happy as a monkey in a banana factory, until one day, Mary came to see me. Looking very troubled, she said “Joseph, we have to talk”.
I know that look and that tone of voice, so, I immediately put down my hammer.
Then Mary dropped the bombshell! She said she had an angel visit her and he said she was going to have a baby! I thought that’s great, when we get married and settle down, we can start our family! Then she said, “No, I’m pregnant now!”
I was in shock, a thousand questions started to run through my mind. What? How? Who? All my hopes and dreams were going up in smoke!
She came up with this cockamamie story how an angel said, the baby was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and that he would be called the “Son of the Highest” and His Kingdom will have no end.
I was floored by this news. How could I believe this story; I wanted to but it was just too farfetched. The way I figured it, Mary had been unfaithful to me, and all of this was nothing but a cover-up.
I had to get away, I needed time to think. A quiet divorce would do the least amount of damage. But the more I thought, the more confused I became. Divorce, yes divorce was my only option.
Then one night, I had a visitor, the same angel that visited Mary also visited me! He said, Joseph, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a son and you shall call his name Jesus, for He will save his people from their sins.
Well, I could sleep another wink! Mary was telling the truth! I felt terrible for not believing Mary. I apologized for my reaction and she understood. Mary has always been so understanding.
As our wedding day got closer and closer Mary was getting bigger and bigger. She went to visit Elizabeth and Zacharias; they also were having a baby.
Then another surprise, Caesar Augustus, the Roman emperor decreed that all citizens must register in a census. That was all we needed, the timing could not have been worse!
But we made the trek from Nazareth to Bethlehem, some 69 miles by way of donkey. But by this time Mary was almost a full nine months pregnant.
When we arrived in Bethlehem, the town was busting at the seams! There was barely space to pass in the streets. We tried every inn, with the same response, “sorry full up.”
Finally, one innkeeper, seeing Mary’s desperate state, gave us a small space in his stable. To be honest it was nothing more than a cave in the side of a hill.
There, among the animals, our baby Jesus was born.
While I knew I was not really the baby’s father, in the normal sense of the word anyway, from that moment on, I knew God wanted me to be a father to Him while He is with us.
We had some, let’s say, unique visitors: shepherds from the hills around Bethlehem, they said angels had appeared to them too, announcing the birth of the son of God. And wise men from the East. They had been led by a star. They gave us gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Mary and I marveled at these things which were spoken of Him. “And the child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom and the grace of God was upon him” (Luke 2:40) And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and men” (Luke 2:52)
I am growing old now, but I’ve learned something, the way I see it being a husband and a father isn’t easy. Yet I believe in miracles! Do you believe in miracles? Not the kind where everything is easy and prosperous, I believe in the kind of miracles that give people faith and hope. You see to change one’s heart is the greatest miracle of all. Having Jesus in our lives, changed everything about us, our attitude, our understanding, and most of all our trust in God, at least that’s the way I see it.
Being a part of a miracle wasn’t easy, and I’m pretty sure it isn’t easy for you either. I bet sometimes you may feel confused and overwhelmed, especially around this time of year. Just remember the miracle of God’s grace is happening inside of you, and it’s worth it.
People all have the same concerns, searching for joy and purpose and they need to know Jesus. Jesus came to us as a Messiah, to forgive us. He comes to you tonight with the same message of peace and love. Amen.