Advent Devotional – Joseph

Wreath and Photo by Gillian Frank

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” 
So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” 
Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS.

 Matthew 1:18-26 NKJV

I’m reading Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus for Advent this year, and this week I read “Joseph: Righteous and Kind” by J. Ligon Duncan III.

Often, when we think of the Christmas story, we think of the virgin birth.  Yes, we know that Joseph was there, he got Mary to Bethlehem after all.  But Joseph’s part in the story and life of Christ seems to be often overlooked, especially since by the time Jesus’ ministry begins, Joseph is gone.

Here is a portion of the sermon that has stuck with me all this week . . .

Joseph, however, reveals in the midst of this display of righteousness that he is a kind man. In spite of Joseph’s wounded affections for Mary, he does not take the recourses of the law that were available to him.  In the Old Testament, a betrothed woman found in adultery could have been stoned to death.  Although this practice was not occurring in Israel during Joseph’s time, Mary still could have been publicly disgraced and expelled from the community.  But instead of publicly disgracing Mary, oseph kindly determines to divorce her quietly.

The character of Joseph, the man God chose for his Son to have for an earthly father, is not only interesting, it is also instructive to us.  There are many who are righteous, but who are not kind.  There are many who are kind, but who are not righteous . . . When God chose a human father for his Son, he chose a man who would be righteous and kind, qualities that reflect God the Father himself.

Just ponder that.