Advent & Joseph
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.” Matthew 1:20
Most biblical imagery used during the Advent season is of Jesus and Mary; mother and son. While certainly appropriate, I sometimes wish there were more detail in the Bible about Joseph’s role in preparing for and shaping Jesus’ life as his earthly father.
In the weeks preceding Jesus’ birth, I imagine Mary and Joseph both struggled with the fears of new parenthood. I too know those fears as our son, Owen, will be two in January. Like most new dads, Joseph probably worried about being a good provider, both economically and spiritually. He was likely hyper-protective of his growing family from the threats of the world. And like all dads, his fears may have been assuaged by faith in God’s decisions. God chose Joseph and Mary for a reason.
When I think about Joseph, I most often picture him toiling away in his workshop, perhaps the best setting for Jesus to grow and learn. It is in Joseph’s home and workshop where Jesus would have been fashioned into the instrument of salvation for the world, an intimidating calling for any father. However, the lessons of a craftsman’s workshop would do well to shape Jesus’ ministry. Joseph would have demonstrated patience in shaping the wood as he worked. He would have modeled honesty and hard work in his business practices. And Joseph would have personified the plight of the working poor, many of whom would form the core of the early Christian church.
This Advent season, I am especially reflective of the relationship Jesus would have had with Joseph. I picture Jesus learning about his dad’s woodworking tools while developing into the prophet who would himself become God’s tool of salvation for all mankind.
Heavenly Father thank you for sending your Son to suffer the burden of our sins. Please strengthen each of us to better walk in Jesus’ footsteps in our daily lives. In your name we pray, Amen.
Brandon Wheeler is married to Krystol, both members of SMBC since 2014. They are proud parents of Owen (2 years), and active members of the Young Couples class.