Journey to the Manger: Joseph

Jackson and Lauren hold up the family trees we made for Jesus.

Jackson and Lauren hold up the family trees we made for Jesus.

Today we met Joseph on our Journey to the Manger.

Joseph adopted Jesus as his son before Jesus was born. Joseph was a righteous man who deeply loved God. When God appeared to Joseph in a dream to reassure him to take Mary as his wife even though she was pregnant with a child who was not his biologically, Joseph obeyed God even though that meant his reputation would not be the same in his community. Following God was more important to Joseph than other people’s opinions. Joseph brought Mary with him when he had to register in the census, and was with her when she gave birth. He watched over his young family in the stable when the shepherds came, and later as the wise men worshiped. Joseph again obeyed God immediately when he was told in a dream to leave and go to Egypt, saving Jesus from being murdered by Herod. Later when they returned, Joseph taught Jesus the family trade of carpentry.

Joseph

Joseph

Joseph not only worked hard to provide for Jesus’s needs, he gave his son a spiritual heritage passed down from the generations before him. Joseph was in the line of the kings, a son of David, fulfilling Messianic prophecy. We looked at Jesus’ family tree through Joseph tonight, tracing back through the kings, to David, to Jacob, Abraham, Noah and Adam. (Find resources for this Jesse tree project here.) God had been planning this family line since before the first man was created, lovingly laying the framework to introduce His Son Jesus to the world He came to save.

Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.

– Matthew 1:20-21

Regardless if Joseph felt up to the task, he took it on anyway because God asked him to take care of His Son. God gives us similar responsibility when He places our children in our arms. We are to protect, guide, nurture, instill, teach, provide and point them back to God. Even if we feel unqualified, at times a failure, and overwhelmed with the task, we must continue on, trusting that God will give us wisdom and strength for the journey.

God gave Joseph the insight and ability to raise Jesus. He will do the same for us as we raise our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

 

Click here to learn more about celebrating Advent with your family this Christmas, including access to a Scripture plan, free downloads and activity ideas. For more on Journey to the Manger, an advent experience from Focus on the Family, visit the Thriving Family website.

Journey to the Manger: Innkeeper

The kids created comfy beds in the living room to think about what it would be like to trade comfort to serve Christ.

The kids created comfy beds in the living room to think about what it would be like to trade our comfort to serve Christ.

The innkeeper told us there was no room at the inn today on our Journey to the Manger.

When Joseph and Mary arrived in Bethlehem, they could not find a place to stay. Then Mary went into labor, and Joseph did what he had to do by delivering the Son of God in a stable.

And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

– Luke 2:7

Innkeeper

Innkeeper

Though we don’t know if an innkeeper turned Joseph and Mary away, Scripture tells us there wasn’t room. That means someone wasn’t willing to give up their sleeping space so a very pregnant woman could find comfort for the night. No one intervened when Mary went into labor to let her in so her child could enter the world in a more sanitary space. Joseph and Mary ended up in a dirty barn and placed their newborn son in a trough where the animals ate.

Why didn’t someone speak up? Where was the compassion that night, as a girl on the verge of having a baby was turned away?

Our hearts are much like that inn. We fill it with relationships, busy schedules, activities and agendas, until there is no room left for the Savior. We place our comfort, our desires and our priorities ahead of submitting to and serving the God who gave us life.

This Christmas, let’s evaluate the real estate of our heart. What fills our attention, captures our emotions, and takes priority in our life? God wants our whole heart, not just the corners or the space left over.

We may talk a good Christian game, but our actions show our heart. What conveniences and comforts are we willing to set aside to pursue Christ?

Make room for Jesus.

 

Click here to learn more about celebrating Advent with your family this Christmas, including access to a Scripture plan, free downloads and activity ideas. For more on Journey to the Manger, an advent experience from Focus on the Family, visit the Thriving Family website.