Summary: 3 of 4 on Christmas. This message is on Joseph

Classic Christmas

December 24, 2006

Home Alone

Christmas Breakfast at Big Boy

Home Alone is a movie about a boy named Kevin who wishes that his family would just disappear. And this time his wish comes true as he is accidentally left home as his family travels to France for Christmas. At first he is elated at the fact that his family isn’t around to as he views it, make his life miserable. However the euphoria doesn’t last long as he soon finds himself not only battling two of the dumbest crooks ever, but finding himself very lonely, missing the family he thought he wanted to disappear.

Have you ever felt lonely? I think we all have at some point. It’s unfortunate that in today’s world loneliness is very commonplace. It’s an everyday experience for many people. Those feelings tend to be compounded during times of celebration, such as Christmas, when friends and family gather to celebrate.

This is why we sponsor the Christmas Breakfast at the Okemos Big Boy… no one should have to be lonely at Christmas… no one!

The feelings of loneliness during the holidays are nothing new. In fact there was one person during the very first Christmas, in light of the situations that he had to face probably felt very lonely. His name: Joseph.

Let’s look at the three events in Joseph’s life that probably left him feeling very much alone – at least for a while.

The first event takes place in Joseph’s hometown of Nazareth. This event concerns Joseph’s engagement to Mary.

Joseph endured loneliness… Let’s read from Matthew and be reminded of his circumstances…

Matthew 1:18-1:21

18 This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. His mother Mary was engaged to marry Joseph, but before they married, she learned she was pregnant by the power of the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Mary’s husband, Joseph, was a good man, he did not want to disgrace her in public, so he planned to divorce her secretly.

Matthew 1:18-1:21

20 While Joseph thought about these things, an angel of the Lord came to him in a dream. The angel said, “Joseph, descendant of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because the baby in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

There is a Loneliness that Comes From Betrayal

Can you imagine how Joseph must have felt when he first learned that Mary was with child. She was going to have a baby and it wasn’t his – of this he was absolutely certain.

To really get a feel of Joseph’s situation it’s critical to understand that the culture of dating and marriage today is nothing like it was in Nazareth.

People didn’t go to High School or college together, meet, fall in love and decide to get married. There was no dating and the idea or romantic love was not even on the radar. Marriage was not the decision of the woman. She was simply part of a business and family decision made by her father.

The first step in this arrangement of marriages was called betrothal. The suitor would approach the father – often through a third party who specialized arrangement of marriages and a pact would be made. The dowry of the woman was set and the arrangements of the groom and the marriage arrangements were established.

With Joseph and Mary the arrangements had been made but the actual wedding had not taken place. They were betrothed – sort of like being engaged. The Betrothal would typically last between six months and a year. During this time the groom would build a home and the bride could get ready to become a wife. Unlike our engagement today, betrothal was as binding as marriage itself without the actual living arrangements.

While little is said about Joseph, one can imagine that his heart must have broken when he discovered the one he arranged to marry had betrayed him. When Mary was discovered to be pregnant it was clear proof of her infidelity and a broken trust especially to Joseph who knew that he was not the father.

Joseph would have worried about the gossip. Nazareth was a small town, where information probably got circulated fast and nothing could be hidden for very long. I grew up in a town like that in Northern Michigan. In Kalkaska there weren’t 2000 residents. There were 2000 babysitters – all keeping watch on the children and telling the parents what the kids were doing!

Some things never change regardless of the time or place!

Joseph had to come up with a course of action for this unpleasant situation. A righteous man had two choices and completing the marriage was not one of them.

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