The Heart of A Father

By Lennette Wagner Sunderman

Reading: Matthew 1:18-24

Focus Verse: “As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 1:20 (NIV)

The mom anxiously double-checked the face of the blond, brown-eyed, often rambunctious three-year-old daughter who was about to meet her grandparents-to-be for the very first time. She knew that on the other side of the door was a very proper woman dressed in heels and pearls waiting in her grand piano living room for a formal introduction to the child of the woman who was taking her son from the life she’d planned.

The door opened and the little girl pushed her way inside, looked around the fancy room, and then in a loud voice asked, “Where’s the kitchen?”

My mom was horrified, but my Grandma and Grandpa began to be wrapped around the finger of this little girl who clearly knew living rooms were meant for guests but kitchens were for family. My Dad had chosen me to have a place right at his family’s kitchen table.

Now Joseph, who has no lines in the Christmas pageant, was another man with a choice to make. His beloved and godly finance had just returned from a trip to visit her cousin and was pregnant. Shock and grief must have coursed through Joseph by Mary’s betrayal. All made worse by Mary’s claim that she was still a virgin. Her pregnancy wasn’t from a man, but through the power of the Holy Spirit. How could she expect him to believe that? 

Joseph’s choice was that Mary wouldn’t be publicly shamed by being stoned to death, but that he’d quietly divorce her. When that happened, Jesus would lose the lineage that ran from Abraham, through King David to Joseph himself. The Jewish people knew that the Messiah could only come from a descendant of King David or he was an imposter.     

Then one night “an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 1:20 NLT). There’s no record of Joseph questioning this, but his next choice was to believe and obey. To step up and into God’s plan for him to become the earthly father of Jesus. Joseph would marry Mary and pull Jesus into his heart and under his wing until thirty years later when He’d be ready to start his ministry. He’d given his life for God’s Son, who then gave His life for us.

Prayer: Father, help us trust and believe that you have a role just for us to play in your kingdom. It may not come with a chorus of angels or the Star of Bethlehem, but it was planned for each of us. Help us grow into women who stand firmly because of who you are and to be courageous by saying “yes” to you and not count all the costs to ourselves first. Thank you for the people in your Word like Joseph who hear, believe, and obey. He didn’t need extra curtain calls or standing ovations, he just wanted to obey you. May we be like that.

In Jesus’ name.


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