Pizza sounded sooooo good! I had to decide: would it be worth it when it came back up? For nine months I had lost almost everything I had eaten, but this time–this time–I was giving in to my craving! So the pizza went down, every yummy, cheese-dripping, bite! And sure enough, within thirty minutes it was coming back.
Carrying this baby was an act of love, and I could hardly wait for him or her to get here. The agony of the birth itself, the long nine months when one goes from “normal” to waddling like a duck, the back aches, trying to get a good night’s sleep–all that is forgotten the second a mother holds her baby. But. The glory of children is their Father. (Proverbs 17:6).
Not fair, Lord! We’re the one who feeds them, changes their stinky diapers, plays airplane with their food, remembers to write everything in the baby’s book, and smells like spit-up 24/7! We’re the ones who carry a two-year old on one hip, a purse over one shoulder, a diaper bag over the other, and lug a twenty-pound car seat/carrier with the infant in it! But. The glory of children is their father.
The class stood at attention: some were shepherds, some were animals, a few wise men, and some held signs. Moms, for the most part, and tons of grandparents, were sitting as close to the front as possible, cameras flashing. The little shepherd on the back row kept his head straight, looking at his teacher, but every thirty seconds he cut his eyes to the right. Finally, a light bulb was turned on in his face–his daddy had arrived to watch the program. The glory was reflected in his face. The glory of this child–my grandson–is his father.
Summer eventually comes–after a long winter–and mom has to come up with tons of ideas how to keep the children occupied, especially during rainy days, when going outside is not even considered. Oh, the things thought of to do! Making tents over the dining room table, having lunch in a “campsite,” playing Hide and Seek. But everyone is waiting for that special moment when daddy comes home. The glory of children is their father.
A new car is needed now, one that will carry all the kids and all their gear, their musical instruments, and presents for parties, and mom becomes not only the nurse, the cook, maid, and now the chauffeur. But the glory of the children is their father.
God, how can this be?! We pour our souls into these children, we take care of every need, are You sure this is right? And He says, yes, it’s right. My Father is My Glory, and I want to be the Glory of your children, as well. And we say, “But God, what about all the homes where Dad has left, and Mom has to carry all the burden? He doesn’t even send money except when the courts make him!” And God says, he will answer for it, because I created him to be the glory of his children.*
In Mark Lowry’s song, “Mary, Did You Know?” a series of questions are asked that examine the magnitude of how this (approximately) fifteen year old mother could understand the depth of importance in the child she was giving birth to. A phenomenal song, it has blessed the hearts of worshipers since it was written. Mary has been revered, placed with Saints by some churches, prayed to by others, made into an idol, put on necklaces. But today, CHRISTMAS, 2016, let’s take a look at the one person who was also chosen by God to fulfill, not only the role of earthly father, but the one who was godly enough to raise and be responsible for the infant Son of God.
As you come to this week, get your notebook, friends or family, and watch the Christmas service from Thomas Road Baptist Church on Christmas morning, December 25, 2016. Click on http://www.trbc.org/sermons and hit play! If you have time, worship with the children and Praise Team, as the congregation is led in carols that have been sung for years. As Jonathan Falwell leads us to think of the man about whom little is known, let us consider Joseph, a man so humble and godly that God Himself let him be a father to His Only Begotten Son during the first thirty years of His life.
Not all of us have had fathers who were models that we could learn from; others of us were taught from infancy by one who trained them into leaders. What male made a difference in your life? If you’re with a group, perhaps you can share your thoughts; otherwise, write them down in your notebook.
Today we focus on the outstanding father-figure that has probably among the fewest verses written about him as anyone in the Scripture. Yet his legacy of being chosen by the Creator God is, according to Scripture, amazing in the importance of the role he would play in the life of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, fully God and yet fully man. Join as we study this little-known hero.
Focal Passage: Luke 2: 1-20, Matthew 1:18-25
Think About or Discuss:
As we heard the story of “Mary, Did You Know?” we could almost turn that song around and ask, “Joseph, did YOU know? Did you understand that God had hand-picked you for one of the most important roles in history? Did you, too, ponder these things in your heart? You were now responsible for the well-being of His Son, the one predicted for hundreds of years by the prophet Isaiah, and you–YOU–have been asked by God, nay, told by God, that you were going to raise Him as your own!” What an amazing, incomprehensible action.
1. What are some of the qualities God would have looked for in this man?
2. Three times in his life, God sent an angel to give him directions as he took care of God’s Son. Do you recall the other times?
THE PURPOSE OF CHRIST’S COMING
3. Read Isaiah 7:13, 14. Joseph, raised in the Jewish culture, knew God had predicted a virgin would have a Child who would be the Savior of His people. Only Joseph knew for certain that this child Mary carried was not his. He, in his honor, decided to forego the marriage with her. What happened before he could do this?
4. Read Zephaniah 3:16, 17. What was the purpose for which Jesus Christ was going to leave heaven’s glory and come to this earth? What did the name “Immanuel” mean?
If an angel appeared to you, telling you that you were to be part of a fulfillment that had been expected for decades, would you believe it? Joseph did! He immediately sought out Mary, and although we are not told, took her as his wife without delay. He did not want her subject to gossip and painful rumors.
Not, of course, part of the sermon, but when my grandfather was a young man in his early twenties, he took as his wife a young girl, about sixteen years old. Because he was several years older than she, he was afraid the marital relations would be fearful for her, and he waited. He wooed her in a husbandly fashion, taking time for weeks to ease her into the gentle caresses and the wonder of marriage that God has ordained. Whenever I think of the kindness, the understanding, and the epitome of a man loving his wife more than he loved himself, my grandfather is my hero. Joseph, as well, waited until after the birth of this special Child before “knowing” Mary as his wife.
5. The verses in Matthew and Luke underline the faith that can be counted on when God makes promises. What verses in Luke reinforce the glory that God had come down to dwell among men?
6. Who else was able to join in the jubilation of this wondrous night? How far did the news spread?
Never can we understand how Joseph must have felt to have so many unfathomable events occur so quickly in his life: he was bethrothed to marry a young, godly girl, who had to tell him she was pregnant. Surely she explained the circumstances of the angel, but the disbelief had to be paramount! Then he himself is visited by the angel, and within a short period of time, they are married. Soon, the Child of God is part of their family, and not long after–within two years–he is again told by an angel to take his wife and child to Egypt. An awesome, incredible man, who obviously put God first in his life, in his marriage, and in the training of his children. Would that we all had husbands and fathers who loved God above all things. If you are a woman, you can pray for your husband to be the man God intended; if you are a man, pray that God will give you a love for your wife that is the type described in Eph. 5:25, loving them as Christ loved the church, and gave Himself for it.
Merry Christmas to all, and a beautiful 2017!
- Written in Love Notes blog, Sandra Day