This is reposted from Christmas Eve, 2009
I was reading in Matthew One this morning--how Joseph was betrothed to Mary, how he was going to divorce her quietly to save her embarrassment, yet divorce her all the same. I read that an angel came to him and told him not to be afraid, this baby would free people from their sins. Then I read of how he heard the warning of the Magi to fear Herod, then an angel appeared to him in another dream and he took his family to safety in Egypt.
The foot note in my study Bible says: "Joseph--occupation: Carpenter, father; Best known for: An obedience to God's instructions given through dreams; his role as the earthly father of Jesus.
Such a small amount of information for the one who would nurture, protect, teach, love and raise the Savior of the World.
What more is there to know about him? From the 48 verses of Matthew One and Two, I learn that Joseph was like his Old Testament counterpart--obedient to dreams and to God's commands, in spite of potential embarrassment. I learn that he was protective of his family. What more do I need to know?
I've often pondered upon Mary--a fearful teen, a young bride, the mother of God. I can identify with her fears and hopes and dreams for her child because I'm a mother. We read about her at Jesus' birth and her vigil at the foot of the cross.
But what of Joseph? Not truly a father, for who can replace God as a father? Not truly a husband; he takes Mary as his wife, but has no union with her before the baby's born. He seems to be just the shadowy brown-robed figure holding the lantern in the stable.
But that lantern he's holding is shedding light to show off his precious new son. The lantern is the beginning of the light of God on earth. Joseph has been given the privilege and responsibility to raise the Son of God! He's been allowed to be the one to protect this little family and expected to do it by listening to voices in his dreams. Joseph's been given the chance to raise a little boy who is the very image of God on earth to manhood--to teach him a skill, to encourage him as he listens to the trials and tribulations of a growing
child, teen, young man.
Joseph--Obedient. Protective. Loyal. A believer in the improbable and unexplainable. Lantern bearer.
What more do we know?
What more do we need to know?
That's all we need to know. That's all we need to be--obedient to His Word, protective and loyal to the Word of God. A believer in the improbable and the unexplainable--allowing God to work in our lives.
God chose Joseph to be the earthly father of His Son--His love for all men, sent down to earth.
God chose us to be the earthly messengers of His love for all men He chose us to be Lantern bearers for the truth of God's word. For the miracle of a virgin birth. For the improbability of a night sky filled with angels. For the unexplainable miracle of God choosing us to follow him.
Today, as you contemplate the birth of Jesus, think about how He sent this most fragile, helpless picture of Himself to be raised by a frightened teenager and lowly craftsman. Think how Joseph held the lantern high to show the world the first glimpse of Emmanuel, God with us.
Hold your Lanterns high to show the world Christ's love in you.