This year will be my sixty-second Christmas celebration. I learned a long time ago that Christmas has nothing to do with a bearded man in a sleigh, or with elves, or with trees, or even with gifts being exchanged. Christmas has everything to do with God sending His Son to be the Savior of the world. Christmas was and is about Jesus Christ making His entrance into the world to redeem us from our sin. There was not a great deal of fanfare in that manger, but there certainly was on the hillside in Bethlehem. There certainly was in the celestial skies as the stars revealed the location of Jesus to the wise men. There in Bethlehem there was not a great deal who noticed … except for one man.
Would you consider for a few moments today that first Christmas morning through the eyes of Joseph. Consider Joseph … just a simple carpenter from Nazareth. Look at Joseph today, the man that is almost forgotten in most explanations of the birth of Jesus. As I was thinking about this narrative of the birth of Christ again this morning for more than the 50th time, my heart was drawn to this simple young carpenter. Matthew mentions his name only seven times in his Gospel. Mark makes no reference to Joseph in his Gospel. Luke mentions his name only ten times in his Gospel. John only mentions him twice in passing in his Gospel. In all of the New Testament, Joseph’s name only occurs nineteen times, and the normal occurrence is something like, “And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven” (John 6:42)?
The thought that touched my heart today was that Joseph may have been the very first person on the earth to trust Jesus as his personal Savior after Jesus’ birth. Think about the ride Joseph was on … he was told by an angel that his pregnant fiancé had not been unfaithful to him, but that the child within her womb was from the Holy Spirit of God. He did not divorce Mary, or publically ridicule her, but entered into that humiliation with her by taking her as his wife. He then witnessed the birth of Jesus. He met the shepherds who came from the hills of Bethlehem following the angelic announcement. He met the wise men who had come from the East led by a star. Here was a humble man, with a humble job, a humble wife, and a child who was the Son of God. Even though he may have had some initial doubts, He now knew that this baby was sent to be the Savior of the world! What a great Christmas that first one must have been. What a great earthly father God had chosen to be our Saviors adopted father!