Read Matthew 1:18-25 and 2:13-15

18This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. 19Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

20But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."

22All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23"The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"—which means, "God with us."

24When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

2:13When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. "Get up," he said, "take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him."

14So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15where he stayed until the death of Herod. (NIV)

Our final character in the Christmas story we will look at is Joseph.  There is so little written of him in the Gospels.  We only get one quick reference that Joseph was a carpenter (Matthew 13:55).  And most of the discussion about Joseph as living all occur from Jesus’ birth to Jesus being 12.  There is not mention of Joseph during Jesus’s adult life and especially during his ministry.  This has led most to believe that Jesus did not start his ministry until after Joseph died.  And this has also led to the speculation that Joseph was an older man when he married Mary.

But what do we know about Joseph.  We know that he settled in Mary’s hometown of Nazareth to live and work.  We know that he was a compassionate man as when he found out Mary was pregnant, he did not want to make a big scene about it.  He wanted to protect Mary the best he could.  But we also know that he listens to God and in listening he obeyed.  In our scriptures we read, there are several hearing and obeying.  He hears that the child is of God and to take Mary as his wife.  He does this.  He hears that he must leave for Egypt to protect his family.  He does this.  So we see that Joseph is a man who listens out for God’s direction in his life and he is a man obedient to God’s will for his life, even if it means doing things that don’t make sense at first.

But we also see that Joseph taught Jesus well.  He taught him a trade.  He taught him obedience.  He taught him compassion.  These are the traits we see in Joseph that we also see in Jesus.

And so the question comes, how easy or hard is it to listen to God?  Was it easier for Joseph and people of that time than it is today?

Jesus described God as a loving father or parent.  Has there been someone in your life that has filled this role for you?  I think Joseph helped model this for Jesus.  Some people have not had a good father or mother.  If that is the case, who became that model of love for you?  Maybe you had a good father and or mother, but also had a person come into your life to model that kind of faith that Joseph had.  And the bigger question might be, who are you modeling it this kind of faith to?

I hope you all have a very blessed Christmas.

Blessings and Peace

Pastor Harry