Joseph: a real hero steps up to show us the way


Andrew and Naomi (Christmas 1987)

It’s been five years since Upper Room Books published my Advent devotional, In My Heart I Carry A Star. The book is one of my favorites; but, unfortunately, it’s gone out of print. I understand you can still get one in Africa, but I’m not sure what language it’s in.

So this year I plan on sharing a new Advent devotional with my readers, one day at a time, right here at “The Life-Charged Life.” If there’s enough enthusiasm from you, and enough “sharing,” and enough “hits” from a wide enough variety of people, then it could very well be the basis for my next Christmas book.

Enjoy! – DEREK

DAY ONE – JOSEPH STEPS UP:  “An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:20-21)

angel-to-josephJoseph has always been a hero/role model to me.

Maybe it’s because of my unique role as a “Clergy-Hubby,” but I find it very easy to identify with Joseph’s sense of, “I’m not sure exactly what’s going on, but that’s one mighty convincing looking angel over there; so I’m going to just smile, and nod, and give the situation a thumbs up.”

Joseph must have really struggled with this one. He was a good man, obviously, and he must have loved Mary; but when he found out about the baby, well, his options were limited. Or at least he thought so.

Then God shows up and points out that, “With God, all things are possible.” God said it again, later, through Jesus; the Jesus who was already making life extremely difficult for Joseph:

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)

That’s the thing about God; God doesn’t always go with:

  • what’s expected,
  • what’s “socially appropriate,”
  • what’s kosher,
  • what’s “this is the way we always do things around here,”
  • what’s culturally apropos.

And that tendency to turn everything upside down becomes even more characteristic once Jesus comes into the picture.

So I’d like to go public with this “thank you” to Joseph. Thanks for being willing to step out from behind the conventions; thanks for being willing to be vulnerable, and to look foolish in front of the other guys if that’s what it took; thanks for being real; thanks for being willing to follow the star; thanks, Joseph, for showing us what it means to be a man.

PRAYER: And we’re off, Lord; it’s Advent already. Show us the way, we pray, just like you did with your servant Joseph. Amen.

Categories: Live Like You Mean It, The Life That Truly is Life, The Life-Charged Life

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9 replies

  1. I am along for the ride … happy to be invited and looking forward to participating. Charles


  2. Amen. Joseph is as real as heroes get. I also feel personally indebted to him, as he showed me the way to get through the Christmas season with grace. That “first Christmas” could not have been merry for him – people talking, the gossips of Nazareth counting on their fingers (“remind me – when was it y’all actually tied the knot?”), the difficult trip for enrollment (with pregnant woman and at best a donkey) and probably more taxes, having to find a midwife (or be one), having to house your young wife in a stable even though there might be family around, new baby turning life upside down, knowing the secret and the responsibility of it, then the quick terrifying run to Egypt – nope, not the stuff of a merry Christmas. But there he was, right in the middle of the wonder, seeing things generations had longed to see, smack in the middle of God’s will. It doesn’t require all the trappings of a secular holiday and a cooperative family with lots of stuff to celebrate the birth of Christ. it just requires focus on God and knowledge that Christ has come to us in spite of everything. And as I prepare for another Christmas season, I am grateful again to Joseph as well as to God for showing me that life-and-season-changing reality. Karen Jones


  3. Hey Derek, it is Kathy Drake from church. Check out it is a website for old books and it looks like they have some of your books. I will order them for you if you want. They are not expensive. Sorry about that.

    Sent from my iPhone


    • Looks like a fairly good used book site. I’m keeping a few new ones in reserve, so I won’t need any from Abe at this time, thanks. But feel free to point anyone in that direction who is in the market for “slightly worn.”
      Peace – DEREK


  4. Not to be picky, but I don’t think the star showed up until the wise men needed guidance.



  1. working on my “towards” (Advent Day-2) | The Life-Charged Life

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