December 2021 – A Letter from Pastor Lori

Merry Christmas! I know it’s a little early to say that.  I am writing this well before Christmas. This year for Advent, Dean and I will be preaching from Adam Hamilton’s book “Faithful-Christmas through the eyes of Joseph.”  The chapters include: A carpenter named Joseph; Whose Child is This?  Raising a Child not your own; The journey to Bethlehem

 

We know the Nativity story from many perspectives and I am excited to see the nativity story through the lenses of Joseph.  Matthew and Luke both trace Joseph’s family back to David’s royal family tree. Prophecy required that the Son of God also be the Son of David. But surely Joseph wasn’t the only one qualified for that DNA/prophecy match. Here are four other reasons I believe God chose Joseph.

 

  1. God chose Joseph because of his convictions. In first century, Palestine/Israel, there was no legal difference between being engaged and married. The engagement set the marriage contract in place, not in motion. The wedding was the formalization and celebration of it, similar to baptism. To get un-engaged, they had to do more than cancel their wedding, they had to get a divorce. Joseph had an out that was both legal and moral. He could have divorced Mary on the grounds of adultery and moved on with his life.
  2. God chose Joseph because of his compassion. Joseph handled this sensitive situation in a compassionate way by preparing to divorce Mary privately instead of humiliating her publicly. Being “righteous” means doing the right thing in the right way. This is the kind of father God chose to raise God’s only Son. It’
  3. God chose Joseph because of his courage. Some fear is healthy and normal. Fear of death makes us drive slower…theoretically. Fear of punishment prods us tell the truth to our spouses, friends, church members, and CPA. Fear of being stoned for your fiancée’s indiscretion is a good reason to keep from marrying her. His options weren’t obvious. There was no easy way out of this jam because if Joseph couldn’t prove that Mary was unfaithful to him, the divorce idea could backfire.
  4. God chose Joseph because of his compliance. When Joseph woke up, he did as the Lord’s angel had commanded him. He married her but did not have sexual relations with her until she gave birth to a son. And he named him Jesus. (Matthew 1:24-25) Godly compliance is the result of blending convictions, compassion, and courage together.

 

Joseph took a pregnant Mary almost 100 miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem, then from Bethlehem to Egypt (760 miles) with their newborn. Eventually, he’d back-track at least 900 miles from Egypt to Nazareth, having taken the long way to avoid trouble in Jerusalem.

Joseph wasn’t chosen because he was a smart man, a rich man, or a famous man. Joseph was chosen because he was a “yes” man.

 

In Christ’s service

Pastor Lori