Summary: Christmas sermon
Lead Characters in a Christmas Drama: The Faithful Follower:
In churches all across America there will be Christmas dramas. You can almost excuse the ones with little kids in bathrobes with towels on their heads and angels with paper wings. The ones that are hard to take are the adults trying to act out the same thing in bathrobes, paper wings and fake beards. I could live the rest of my life and never attend a church drama like that and be happy.
The fact is there was drama, real drama surrounding the Christmas story. For the next few weeks we are going to look closer at some of the leading characters in the real life drama we now call Christmas.
It was drama because no one tried out for the parts but they were chosen to play roles that marked them forever as historic figures. In fact they are not only historic figures they became figurines. They have been immortalized more than anyone I can think of in molded images.
What makes them so special? Why are their stories so compelling? By the end of this series we should know more about these people and their lives.
"Something terrific will come no matter how dark the present. God always comes up with a third-act twist-and we won’t know until we die whether the play was a comedy or a tragedy. So you’d better be prepared for both. That’s the exhilaration of being alive. There is always another scene coming out of nowhere. God is the best dramatist." - Joan Rivers, Still Talking
In the great Christmas drama, like any good drama, there needs to be a leading man. Someone had to play the role of Jesus earthly father.
It would appear that Joseph was no ordinary man. From the text, it is easy to see that Joseph was a man of compassion, integrity, decency and love. He was a man who honored God’s will in his life, and was totally committed to doing God’s will. Joseph was a humble man who was more concerned about what God wanted out of his life than about what he himself wanted. He was a humble man chosen for a heavenly mission.
He was a man who possessed certain characteristics that would do us well to emulate. I am sure that the Lord will not call you and me to go through exactly what Joseph went through. However, I am also sure that God wants to use your life and mine just as He used Joseph.
Let’s look at his story a little closer.
1. A Tragedy that Marred His Life (v.18-19)
Shocking discoveries and shattered dreams
“18The birth of Jesus took place like this. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. Before they came to the marriage bed, Joseph discovered she was pregnant. (It was by the Holy Spirit, but he didn’t know that.) 19Joseph, chagrined but noble, determined to take care of things quietly so Mary would not be disgraced.” Matthew 1:18-19
Can you imagine with me for a moment that you are Joseph and you find yourself in this situation. Your future wife is pregnant. That may not be as uncommon as it should be in these days, but take it a step further. She’s pregnant and you are not responsible, but somehow you have to get everyone to believe that this is a God ordained miracle. It had to be shocking and it had shatter every dream he had of the wedding and spending his life with Mary.
Joseph was a man hand-picked and personally prepared by God for a special mission, his life was not without its trials and tragedies. In fact, Joseph faced, weathered and overcame trials that would have derailed many other people.
What a true portrait of the harsh reality of life! We do our best to make our plans and get things all lined up like they thing they ought to be, then something happens and we see our hopes, our plans and our dreams come crashing down! When these things happen, it breaks our hearts because it isn’t what we wanted or what we expected and it looks to us as though it could be the worst thing possible
What does the Bible have to say that would indicate how we should view tragedies that threaten to mar our lives?
8We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed and broken. We are perplexed, but we don’t give up and quit. 9We are hunted down, but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going. 10Through suffering, these bodies of ours constantly share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.