Summary: “Then Joseph, her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly” Matt. 1:19 .

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Theme: Joseph, human and God in action

Text: Isaiah 7:10-16; Rom. 1:1-7; Matt. 1:18-25

Today is the fourth Sunday of Advent and next Sunday is Christmas. Although we are all looking forward to the celebrations we need to spend time meditating on the birth of Christ. Before His birth God chose and prepared a family to take care of the child through His formative years. The home has always played a major role in the upbringing of children. It is to be a place of intimacy, unity, love, and understanding. The home is to be a place where children would grow up to know their heavenly Father and thereby their own identity and value as children of God. It is to be the place to learn total trust in the Lord and obedience to His commands. It is to be the place of absolute safety and security. God chose such a home for His Son Jesus Christ. He chose Joseph to be Jesus’ earthly father who would provide Him a fitting home.

God chose Joseph because he was a just man. He was devastated when Mary told him she was expecting a child. Joseph knew that the child was not his. However, he was prepared to do what was right, despite the pain he knew it would cause. Joseph was not only a just man but also merciful. He not only tried to do the right thing, he also tried to do it in the right way. He decided to break the engagement but in a way that would not hurt Mary and expose her to public shame and ridicule. His intention was to act with justice and love. Joseph weighed his options. One was to divorce Mary quietly, the other would be to have her stoned. God, however, had a third and better option - to marry her. He sent a messenger to Joseph to confirm Mary’s story and to go ahead and marry her. Joseph obeyed God and married Mary.

Joseph was chosen to live his role as Jesus’ earthly father. He did this in very difficult circumstances. Consenting to marry Mary would cast doubt on his own innocence regarding the pregnancy and leave them with a social stigma they would have to bear. In spite of this, Joseph served as a role model for God’s Son. Children learn a lot from the home and the ones who make the most impact on children are their parents. They learn from what they see their parents do more than from what they say. There is a story of a young couple returning home from work one afternoon. They met a friend in their neighbourhood and invited him in. They opened their front door only to hear their nine-year-old son and seven-year-old daughter yelling at each other at the top of their voices. Alarmed they all rushed in to find out what was going on. “What on earth is going on here?” the parents asked. Their son looked at them with a surprised expression on his face for a moment, then smiled and replied, “Oh, there is nothing wrong. We were just playing daddy and mummy.” Children are very good learners and the people who influence them most are their parents. Is it any wonder that they grow up becoming like their parents? Let us follow Joseph’s example by allowing God to direct our lives.

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