Summary: While Joseph was silent in the Scriptures, this quiet man of character left behind something that speaks much louder than his words ever could.
A Savior Worth Waiting For
Do you have your Christmas shopping done for everyone on your list? When I was growing up, I always waited until Christmas Eve to begin shopping for my four sisters. They always dreaded opening my gifts because they never fit or they were just plain junk. I was offended when all four of them would head back to Shopko the day after Christmas to return their gifts and get something they really wanted.
Gift giving is not easy, is it? While most of you already have your shopping done, some of us could use some help to make sure we don’t buy the wrong things. But, there’s no hurry…you still have a couple days before Christmas.
Guys, here are the top five gifts that women don’t want for Christmas:
A table saw
A case of oil
Tickets to the WWF “New Year’s Slamfest”
The Rambo Trilogy on DVD
A new satellite dish with sports package
Women, here are some things you probably shouldn’t purchase for the men on your list:
The Anne of Green Gables Collector’s Edition DVD with 74 minutes of extra footage
Tickets to the ballet
A Bath and Body Works soap basket
A weekend seminar on “Getting in Touch With Your Feelings”
Last week we studied the gifts that a woman named Mary received that first Christmas. We learned that if we want to have a Merry Christmas then we must first understand Mary’s Christmas. God gave her gifts that were a perfect fit for her. She was going to be pregnant with a son named Jesus. He was going to be great because He was the Son of the Most High God. His kingdom will never end and He will be called the Holy One. Mary responded in Luke 1:38 with the only gift she had, the gift of herself, when she said, “I am the Lord’s servant…May it be to me as you said.”
This morning we’re going to look at how a man named Joseph responded to the gift that God had for him. We’ll see that he wasn’t too thrilled with the whole idea at first but eventually accepted the present as God carefully unwrapped it for him. Joseph is really the forgotten figure of Christmas, paling in comparison to the infinite who became an infant and to Mary the mother of Jesus.
Did you know that he’s the only one in the nativity narrative who isn’t heard from? In fact, he doesn’t say a single word in the gospels. While he was silent, this quiet man of character left behind something that speaks much louder than his words ever could.
A Sunday School was putting on a Christmas pageant, which included the story of Mary and Joseph coming to the inn. One boy really wanted to be Joseph, but when the parts were handed out, he was assigned to be the innkeeper instead. He couldn’t stand the guy who got to be Joseph but he kept quiet about everything. Inside he was secretly plotting how to get back at his rival.
On the night of the performance, Mary and Joseph came walking across the stage and knocked on the door of the inn. The innkeeper opened the door and asked them gruffly what they wanted. Joseph answered, “We’d like to have a room for the night.” Suddenly the innkeeper threw the door open wide and smiled even wider, “Great, come on in and I’ll give you the best room in the house!”
For a few seconds poor little Joseph didn’t know what to do. Thinking quickly on his feet, he looked inside the door past the innkeeper and then said, “No wife of mine is going to stay in a dump like this. Come on, Mary, let’s go to the barn.”
In all the Christmas pageants performed, Joseph doesn’t get a starring role, but his part is so important. The real Joseph tried to think quickly on his feet when he thought the lines were messed up, but he needed some angelic intervention before he was able to play the role that had been assigned to him.
He probably thought his life was all scripted out. His marriage to Mary and his vocation as a carpenter were all neatly arranged for him, but then his world came crashing down. He had a day of disappointment, which was followed by a night of discovery that eventually led to a morning of dedication.
A Day of Disappointment
Let’s look first at his day of disappointment that maxed out his margins and fractured any hope he had for his future wedding. We pick up the story in Matthew 1:18: “This 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.”