By Jonita Johnson
Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example was of a mind to put her away privately, but while he thought on these things, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph son of David, fear not to take Mary as your wife: that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and you shall call His name, JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins. Matthew 1:19 – 21
During this season of Advent our thoughts are on Mary and baby Jesus. But for the moment, let’s focus our thoughts on Joseph. Just as Mary was chosen as the earthly mother of Jesus, Joseph was chosen as His earthly father. We know that Joseph was a tremendous influence on Jesus at least through His twelfth year.
I can imagine Joseph’s anger, hurt and confusion as he tried to process the fact, that Mary was pregnant, and the baby wasn’t his. “How could this have happened? Was I not enough for her, didn’t I show her and her family my love, trust and affection? Why? Both our families will be disgraced. Why Mary?” Out text tells us that while he was thinking about his situation, the angel of the Lord came to him and confirmed Mary was loyal, and he was chosen to father this child. This is the Holy child that was written of in the scriptures.
Joseph, a just and honorable man, would stand by her. They together would endure the talk, the whisper, and side looks of the community. He would love and raise this child. Joseph the carpenter would teach this firstborn son, his son, everything he knew of his craft, of the Law of Moses. He would teach his son the ways of a Jewish boy to be loving and honorable, just as he was. Joseph would teach Jesus the ways of a man. But on this night, the night of the birth of Jesus, as Joseph and Mary traveled and her labor began, how scared he must have been, not knowing what would happen, where she would give birth? He was worried. Is God still with us? As they entered Bethlehem and went to inn after inn, and there was no room. Where could he take her, as her labor was increasing. The helplessness he must have felt as a husband, a new father to be, as a man. Then, one man said he had a place; a stable. A cave where the animals were kept. But there was hay, it was out of the elements. Jesus was born, and Joseph, the chosen man of God was there. As it was the custom of the father, Joseph called him Jesus.
The importance of a father cannot be measured. Those of you reading this, who are or going to be fathers take heed to your role. Those possibly short twelve years that we know of between Joseph and Jesus are the beginnings of the making of a man. Whether you are a father by birth, a brother, uncle, stepdad, or friend. You can make a difference in the making of a man.