Joseph: more than a bit-part in the manger scene

Joseph was a righteous man. Because he didn’t want to humiliate Mary, he decided to call off their engagement quietly. As he was thinking about this, an angel from the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because the child she carries was conceived by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you will call him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”…  When Joseph woke up, he did just as an angel from God commanded and took Mary as his wife. – Matthew 1:18-25

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I’ve always been a fan of Jesus’ dad Joseph. He was obviously a devout and faithful man who listened to Mary, respected her faith, and followed the guidance of God even when it looked like it was going to cost him a lot personally. This man was a lot more than a bit-part in the manger scene.

So I went online to see if I could find an appropriate image of “Mr. Carpenter” to share. There are a lot of good ones, and many that are incredibly artistic, but this one (above) spoke to my heart and soul – and it just rings so true.

One more insistent voice in the barnyard!

First, I believe the idea from the Christmas carol that, “But little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes…” has got to be all hooey:

  • Mary had to have been exhausted;
  • The accommodations couldn’t have afforded her much or any relief;
  • The baby likely made as much noise as the angels up on the hillside;
  • I’m sure Jesus was one more insistent voice in the barnyard.

“I’ve got this, Mary,” I can hear Joseph saying; “you settle down and get some sleep while you can.”

If Jesus came to do anything in this world he came to save us – and that has always meant saving humankind from so many of the restrictive, constricting, culturally imposed roles that choke so much of life and creativity.

Jesus came to free dads from sexist roles:

IMG_7529One such restriction that persists is the “division of labor” in the household. For example, it annoys the heck out of me that the supposedly cutting edge membership software our church uses defaults men into an anachronistic “Head of Household” category.

I left my job and did the “house-daddy” thing back in 1982 when Andrew was born, and again later when our kids were growing up. I believe that is one of the things Jesus set me free to do.

Jesus came to set the world free from all the sexist, prejudicial, manipulative, control-oriented, bias, unfair, dismissive, choking restrictions and limitations so many people find themselves hemmed in by so much of the time.

God used Joseph to teach Jesus:

I can just see God using Joseph to help teach his son how free and how complete it is possible to be when we respond to God’s invitation to live like we mean it! What a wonderful alternative it is to live in God’s richness and light rather than the darkness of human oppression superimposed on top of cultural and religious code!

DSC_0117Thanks, Joseph, for raising your son right. I just know most of it was by example. If you had had a daughter I’m betting she would have been a preacher and a leader in the early church!

“When Joseph woke up, he did just as the angel from God commanded him…”

Joy to the World!!!!! – DEREK




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