Saturday, December 17, 2016

Advent: In Praise of Joseph

Matthew 1:18-25
Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do 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 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.” All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
 “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel,”
which means, “God is with us.”
When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.
Lord Jesus,
I am so grateful
for your earthly father, Joseph.
He didn't have to,
but he chose to.
He could see the hard road ahead,
but he stood by your mother.

Perhaps he helped you understand
what it means to be a son of a loving father.
Maybe the voice from the heavens
with the dove at your baptism
wasn't the first time you'd heard the words:
"This is my beloved son;
with you I am well pleased."
Maybe you heard it in from Joseph first
when he introduced you to the others at synagogue,
when he took you to work with him,
when he tussled your hair,
when he held the nail for you to hammer it,
when he guided your hands on the saw.

We need more men like Joseph
willing to take risks,
willing to care,
willing to mentor boys (and girls),
willing to listen to God's call,
willing to dream, and
willing to live out God's dreams.

Lord Jesus,
thank you for father's
like Joseph,
like mine.
Help us men
be good fathers and mentors
not because we have to,
but because we chose to.

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