I seriously love Christmas. I love the lights. I love the giving. I love the awe. The awe of God’s promise fulfilled through Mary and her baby, and the total miracle of it all. But my heart goes out to Joseph…because I want to be the forever parent I think he was. He was chosen to be the earthly & forever father to God’s son. I’m certain he was chosen not because he had the skills to do the job, but he had the heart to obey; he would have to daily cry out to the One who chose him to do the seemingly impossible: give up everything to raise the sinless son of God and trust in Grace to not screw up!
What did his heart do that night the angel visited? Did it break for the family shame his sweetheart would now carry? Did his mind immediately calculate the financial and social cost to such obedience? Would his new carpentry business ever thrive under such controversy? Surely he would be shunned. Would he EVER be able to support his family? Did he have to force his feet to walk in blind faith until his heart could follow?
When the infant-Jesus cried through the night, through his exhaustion did Joseph sing Psalms over his tiny son? “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His mercies endure forever” (Ps 107:1)
Did he take boy-Jesus fishing in the early hours of the day and discussing & memorizing the Torah. (Deut 6:7)
Did his heart pause when his son asked to hear the stories again about Great-Great Grampa King David? (Isa 11:1)
Did he spend hours in the shop after hours with his teenage son building cabinets & shelves for the widows, single moms & orphans in Nazareth? “Hold the saw like this, son. Watch your fingers. If we finish early, we’ll still have time to check on Widow Jacobson’s roof.” (Deut 10:18)
Did his blood boil when the other children made fun of his ‘different’ son? Yet, he would have to choose to model grace, forgiveness & compassion. “Come with me, son. I know it hurts, but they don’t know what they are doing. Let’s pray their hearts change soon.” (2 Chron 6: 36-39)
While singing the Passover prayer to his other children, did Joseph’s heart silently bow to the Sacrificial Lamb who was sitting at his own dining table? (Ex 12)
Was it with Joseph’s final breaths that he took his oldest son’s hands “My son, there are extra shekels in the workshop. Make sure your mother is well cared for. I’m so very proud of you.” Jesus learned from someone to care so deeply for his mother. (John 19:26-27)
The night before His crucifixion, was it Jesus’ first response to run to his Heavenly Father in prayer because he had seen his earthly father so often do the same? (Luke 22:41-44)
Every day Joseph had to choose: What’s best for this child who has a plan so much bigger than I could ever dream? He has been given to me for this time on Earth alone; how do I, in every encounter with my child, model what our Heavenly Father would do?
Jesus told his disciples “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” (John 5:19). I by no means want to devalue the majesty of that statement, but there is a part of me that wonders, was Jesus’ earthly father accurately able to model what he saw HIS Heavenly Father do to his own forever son? Was it through his forever father that the Christ child saw His Eternal Father first? Surely, in the early years, Jesus copied his daddy who was so earnestly seeking to follow the Lord. What an impact that must have made! It’s this heart… Joseph’s heart… that I want to have as I parent my child on this earth.