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.

Thankful: God’s grace is sufficient

But (God) said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me.

– 2 Corinthians 12:10

Today, I am incredibly grateful that God’s grace is sufficient for me.

I am a broken person, often trying in my own power to tape the cracks of my life together. I struggle under the weight of others’ expectations. I get involved in situations that I don’t belong, and press change faster than it’s ready to unfold. I want everyone to be happy and to like me, and try desperately to cover the hurt when people aren’t and don’t. I battle pride and laziness daily. I yell. Loneliness sometimes gets the best of me.

I am weak.

Yet, God calls to my heart, whispers to my soul, “My grace is enough for you.”

My sin can’t outrun grace. It is impossible to heap my shortcomings and failures, inabilities, hurts, strongholds and frustrations higher than the mountain of God’s merciful kindness and extravagant grace. Each and every time my weakness overwhelms me, God’s grace gently covers. The ways in which I fail are vast, but God’s redemption stretches as far as the east is to the west.

I don’t need grace and. I need grace. It is sufficient. It is enough.

When I struggle, God shows up. His power is manifested in my weakness. God’s grace allows me to get up and begin again. It prompts me to praise and express adoration for my Savior, who never gives up on me.

I may not measure up, but God’s grace will always be enough.