A Christmas Devotional

Matthew 2:24-25 “And Joseph arose from his sleep, and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took her as his wife, and kept her virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.”

Love is an unconditional commitment to an imperfect person.

For Joseph, husband to Mary and earthly father to Jesus, his task was overwhelming. His unconditional commitment was to a perfect person. He was to love the Son of God. He was to raise the Christ of the cradle. He was to live out a commitment that can only be fueled by the extravagant love of a father.

Like every Jewish man, Joseph hoped to someday have a son. Every father dreams of raising an heir to the lineage, a successor to the seed and an apprentice to the family enterprise.

Joseph was probably looking forward to the day he could teach his son how to work with cedars of Lebanon using the tools of his trade.

Most of us think of Joseph as being there for Mary as she delivered the Christ Child. But his most daunting duty was to raise the Son of God. How does one go about being a father to the Son of God? How do you train a Child to work with the very wood He created? How do you discipline a Son who would know no sin? How do you raise a King? How do you teach the Messiah, things of faith?

All Joseph knew was that he was called by His Heavenly Father to be the earthly father of God’s Holy Child. It was a ministry assignment beyond comprehension. It was a not a reasonable request, it was a venture of love and commitment. Joseph… father to the Son of God.

Christmas is all about commitment. The commitment of Mary to God’s request to carry the Son of God. The commitment of Joseph to raise the Son of God. The commitment of the Magi to find the Son of God. The commitment of God, Himself, to send His only begotten Son into the world to die for our sins. And the eventual commitment of the Christ Child, going humbly without hesitation from a cradle to a cross.

Thanks be to God that Joseph responded to the challenge of love. He gave an unconditional commitment to a perfect person.

What would you have done if given the same responsibility? Would you have trembled in terror? Would you have fled in fear? Would you have escaped with excuses? Or would you have consented to the commitment of love with confidence and conviction?

What do you do whenever God gives you an overwhelming ministry assignment? To continue in a marriage grown cold? To commit to parents who have grown old? To love a friend who has betrayed you? To bless an enemy who has persecuted you?

How do you manage when beleaguered? Joseph knew that the responsibility for raising God’s Son belonged not only to him, but also to God. We, in whatever circumstance we find ourselves, are never alone. We are never left to our own devices. We never have to rely solely on our own resources.

Jesus, our Emmanuel, God with us, came into the world on Christmas morning so that we never have to go it alone.

This Christmas, may you sense the presence of Emmanuel in your life.

Something to think about…