Summary: A sermon about the Law of Love.
Sermon Series: "Christmas: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly"
"Let's Keep Joseph in Christmas"
Matthew 1:18-25; 2:13-15, 19-23
Some of us may have been blessed or be blessed to have a father like Joseph.
Others of us may be blessed to know men like him.
If you knew Joseph, you might have noticed his eyes first, and then his hands.
His eyes would be accustomed to studying a line on a stone block wall or making sure a wooden joint was right on square.
His face would be leathered by the Galilean sun and wind, and his eyes would look at you with an openness, a straightforwardness that you would immediately trust.
Joseph is the kind of guy you would want as your carpenter.
His hands were a working man's hands, rough and beat up.
And he was honest, caring.
If we study what the Scriptures say about Joseph we will notice that he appears to have been a quiet guy.
Not a single word is recorded from Joseph's mouth.
But his role in the birth and upbringing of Jesus was indispensible.
Joseph was the strong, silent type.
He was a man who worked hard--a man who could be counted on.
You know the type.
These guys are very seldom the chair of the committee, but they serve faithfully, and everyone respects their judgment, even if it's only given with a nod or a smile.
They are men of integrity.
Their word is their bond.
A handshake for them is better than a signed contract.
Jesus had a really good earthly daddy.
How important is that?
We are told that Joseph and his family "settled in a city called Nazareth..."
And what we know is that Nazareth was a tiny town.
Scholars suggest that it was made up of a few hundred people, maybe only a hundred and fifty--perhaps even the same amount of people who are in this sanctuary this morning.
And we think of Joseph as a carpenter.
The Greek word that the Bible uses literally means "artisan" or "builder" or "stone mason."
And most likely, when Jesus got old enough, he worked side by side with his dad.
Four miles outside of Nazareth, the Romans were rebuilding a pretty good size city, and it's likely that Joseph and Jesus would walk or ride an ox cart daily to build homes and public buildings in that city.
Then, they would walk back home where Mary would have supper waiting.
That kind of work has been going on across centuries, everywhere.
Now, think for a moment.
What does a good, kind-hearted father with a thoughtful and obedient son do on a typical workday?
In that 4-mile trek did Joseph and Jesus talk about God?
Did, even this quiet man, talk to Jesus about important matters as they walked and worked together?
My dad talked about things like that when I was a boy, when we did things together.
My dad made ethical observations that stuck with me, and I bet Joseph did as well.
Another thing we know about Joseph is that he walked closely with God.
He listened to God and did what God said.
In Bethlehem, after Jesus was born, after the wise men had left, an angel of the Lord, in a dream, said to Joseph, "'Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt'...Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt."