Summary: It is not enough to simply enjoy christmas it is important that we participate in Christmas as well. this message focuses on Joseph and the Christmas narrative
INTRODUCTION, A man in Phoenix called his son in New York on Christmas Eve and says, “I hate to ruin your day, but I have to tell you that your mother and I are divorcing; 45 years of misery is enough – I cannot take it any more!” The startled son replies, “Pop what are you talking about, you and mom are so in love”
The father replies we simply cannot stand the sight of each other any longer. We are sick of each other and I do not want to talk about it any longer; you call your sister in Chicago and tell her the bad news.
Frantic the son calls his sister in Chicago, and tells her of their parents impending divorce – she is shocked and immediately calls her parents – Her dad answers the phone, but before he can say hello, she blurts out; THERE IS NO WAY YOU & MOM ARE GETTING A DIVORCE! I will take care of this. She tells her father not to do a thing she will be in Phoenix tomorrow and her brother from Chicago will be there as well.
The old man hangs up the phone and turns to his wife and says “THE KIDS ARE COMING HOME FOR CHRISTMAS AND PAYING THEIR OWN WAY!
SOME PEOPLE WILL DO ANYTHING TO GET OTHERS TO PARTICIPATE IN CHRISTMAS!
If you are familiar with the Christmas story at all you know there are a lot of people who participated in the first Christmas
Mary, Shepherds, Angels and the Wise men just to name a few. The Christmas narrative is not complete without mentioning a reluctant participant of that first Christmas – Joseph.
He at times is the forgotten man at Christmas. It is easy to focus on Mary, the shepherds, and the wisemen during this season, but not a lot is said about Joseph.
He is from the lineage of David
He was a carpenter by trade, and taught Jesus how to be a master of wood and nails.
He was a pious man, faithful to the ordinances of the temple
He was a kind man, standing beside Mary in her time of need.
He was a faithful father, who cared for Jesus in the stable and provided protection for him in Egypt.
Yet he never appears in the gospels after Christ was 12 years of age, tradition has it he died when Christ was 18 years of age.
While not much is said about this reluctant participant at Christmas – his presence confirms the deity of the Jesus.
While the Bible records some amazing births, no birth is more amazing than that of the virgin birth of Christ. The virgin birth of Christ reminds us once again Jesus was not a mere man or a great teacher and philosopher, he was not a radical revolutionary leader; Jesus is the Son of God. This is an important issue in a pluralistic society, that says there are many paths to heaven and all religious melt into one universal belief.
While the world would like to place Jesus on the list of just one more option when it comes to religious leaders – as believers we understand his unique birth is a key issue of our faith.
By observing Joseph’s actions, faith and example we are reminded of the importance of the deity of Christ.
The Virgin Birth Stated
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.
In the previous 17 verses of Matthew’s gospel, Matthew points to the earthly genealogy of Jesus. Yet only one verse is used to describe his divine genealogy. In his divinity, Jesus is born of a woman though a miraculous and never repeated act of the Holy Spirit. Though only one verse is used to explain our Lord’s deity, the verse provides some meaningful insights.
The engagement of Joseph and Mary
It is possible Joseph and Mary were quite young when they were engaged. In Jewish culture, girls were engaged by age 12-13 and boys were several years older. By custom the Hebrew marriage involved 2 stages; a betrothal and a ceremony. The marriage was often arranged by the parents and the young couple spent very little time with one another until the ceremony itself. The betrothal was a time of probation of fidelity as well as a time of preparation for the marriage itself. During the betrothal stage the man and woman were considered legally married even though the ceremony had yet to take place.
The purity of Joseph and Mary
Joseph and Mary had no sexual contact with each other as the phrase before they came together implies. Sexual purity is highly regarded throughout the Bible. God places a great value on sexual abstinence prior to marriage and sexual fidelity in marriage. Because they were sexually pure they gave legitimacy to Jesus’ birth. It protected the nature of the divine son of God; no where in scripture is Jesus called the son of Joseph or is Joseph called the father of Jesus. Had Jesus been conceived by an act of man, he would not have been divine and could not have been the savior. The virgin birth confirms the deity of Jesus.