December the 18th finds us in the Gospel of Matthew chapter 1, verses 18-25:
This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a Son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save his people from their sins.”
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a Son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a Son. And he gave Him the name Jesus.
Joseph was a righteous man who loved Mary very much. But he must have had some trouble believing Mary when she told him how she came to be pregnant. He could have made a public accusation against her and, by the law, she would have been stoned. If Joseph had been a proud man he would have done just that. But Joseph was a righteous man. He decided that he wouldn't make an accusation against Mary. He decided just to divorce her, quietly. But then, “an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream” and his life was changed forever. I wonder what Joseph’s life was like after that.
I can’t imagine Joseph raising the Creator of the universe. What was it like to teach the creator of the universe carpentry? Was Jesus a quick learner? Was He a good carpenter? Did Joseph tell Jesus about the night of His birth, about what the shepherds had told him, about the angels? Did he tell Jesus about the angel who appeared to him in a dream, and what the angel told him? Did he tell Jesus about the Magi, the star that guided them, and the gifts they brought? Did he sit outside with Jesus, at night when the stars were at their brightest, just as Abraham must have done with his son Isaac. Did he tell Jesus about the promise that God gave to Abraham and how Jesus was the fulfillment of that promise? Did he tell Jesus that, through Him, the whole world would be blessed? Did Joseph tell Jesus about Simeon, and how God had revealed to Simeon that he would not die before seeing the Messiah? Did he tell Jesus that Simeon took Him in his arms, and what he said about Him? Did Joseph tell Jesus about Herod and his plan to kill Jesus by killing every baby boy less than 2 years old in and around Bethlehem? Did Jesus cry when He first heard that, not for His own life, but for all the babies murdered by a power hungry king? I wonder how long Joseph lived.
We do not need to know these things; otherwise they would have been included in the Scriptures. But, there are some people I want to sit down and talk with in heaven, and Joseph is one of them. These things probably won’t matter in heaven, but I hope they do. I would love to sit down with Joseph and have him tell me what it was like raising the Son of God.
The ornament that goes on the tree for tonight is a small sign with the words of Matthew 1:21 printed on it.