Summary: The Christmas Story as seen through Joseph's eyes.
( Parts of this sermon were taken directly from Joseph’s tenacious love by Brian Bill, sermon central.)
Good Morning, my name is Joseph. I know I look much like the person you call your pastor but my name is Joseph. You don’t hear a lot about me in your Christmas stories. Actually, in the story about the birth of my adopted son Jesus, nobody ever recorded a word I said. Story of my life. I spoke quite a bit during my life but neither Matthew nor Luke recorded anything I said. It really doesn’t bother me because the story of Christmas is about the birth of Jesus and not about me. If I may, I would like to share my story with you this morning.
You probably don’t know much about me so if I may; I would like to tell you some things about me.
I lived in a town called Nazareth. My family was originally from Bethlehem which is about 8 miles south of Jerusalem. At one time my hometown of Nazareth was a really beautiful and serene place to live but the Romans came in and the town got run down and the morality in our town seemed to disappear. With all the Romans and foreigners around, our town got a bad reputation. People were always making fun of us. They even laughed at the way we talked. Much like the way the people from the north make fun of people from the south. There was a disciple named Nathaniel who was from my hometown and even he was quoted as saying “can anything good come from Nazareth”? It was a pretty sad and run down place but hey, it was my home.
I made my living as a carpenter and I was pretty good at it. I wasn’t what you would see in a carpenter because I not only built houses but I also built furniture and anything else that you might need that is made of wood. In those days, I did anything I could to provide for myself and save for my future family. I’ll tell you more about them later.
My father’s name was Jacob and I learned my trade from him because he also was a carpenter. That’s what we did back then. Our fathers would train us and pass along their trade to us. I was looking forward to passing my skills along to my sons.
I was a religious man as I’m, sure many of you here today are. I loved God with all my heart, soul, mind and body, just as the scriptures required. While I didn’t say anything that was recorded in Matthew, he does refer to me as a righteous man in the scripture. That’s what I wanted to be. I wanted God to look at me and see someone who was devoted to Him.
There is a Hebrew word for people like me. We are called tsaddiyq. (sawd-deek). That’s what they called people who were dedicated to God the way I was. I would never eat anything that was not approved by the scriptures. I would only associate myself with other tsaddiyq”s. On the Sabbath, you could always find me in compliance with all the rules and regulations that governed the Sabbath. I was admired by everyone and little boys would look up to me and aspire to be like me. Much like the way your children look up to athletes and what you call celebrities. In my opinion, your standards sure have been lowered.
If you were to trace my lineage back 21 generations you would find that I am a descendent of King David. I have royal blood running through my veins. While I have this lineage, I don’t feel like royalty. All I am is a man trying to serve and please God. Others would sometimes mention my family history but I didn’t try to use it for any kind of gain. As I said, I am a simple man serving God.
I want to tell you about my wife. Her name is Mary and she is the most beautiful woman in the world to me. After I had taken over my family’s business from my father, I knew it was time to settle down. My family and Mary’s family had known each other for years and I had watched Mary turn into a beautiful young woman. I was a little bit older than her but not so much that I couldn’t marry her. I asked her father if I could marry her and he gave his permission.
We did things a little different in my day when it came to marriage. Mary and I had a ceremony with witnesses much like your marriage ceremony is today. The difference is that after the betrothal ceremony, the wife would go back to her father’s house for around a year. There would be no intimacy during this time. This allowed me time to prepare a place for us to live. What the groom would do is add a room onto his father’s house for him and his wife to live in. I spent my time building and dreaming. Building our house and dreaming of my life with my bride. Thanking God for all His blessings upon me and Mary. You must remember that I am a tsaddiyq after all.