Advent: Day Nineteen

“She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”—Matthew 1:21

Today, we await the arrival of our savior. We look toward December 25th as a day of celebration and remembrance for what has already happened, but we also stand in anticipation of what will happen. God fulfilled His promise to His people through the birth of Jesus 2,000 years ago—He is a promise-keeping God! He will keep His promise again.

The angel delivered a promise from God to Joseph in a dream. “You shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins…” And then, upon waking, Joseph obediently did as he was commanded. Joseph’s calling not only led to work, but its central focus was all about Jesus.

We can only imagine how God’s promise might have echoed in Joseph’s mind and actions from that day on. How do you forget such a thing? “He will save his people from their sins.” Joseph’s dadness was preparation for redemption. He trained Jesus and protected Him so that Jesus’ life would not be cut short. So that Jesus could be equipped as a man to do the things He needed to do and go to the cross and die for our sins.

As parents, our relationships with our children can often expose our own deep need for Jesus’ saving grace. Children can show us our own sins. Imagine training Jesus, who was sinless. The closeness Joseph had with his adopted Son would surely have exposed Joseph’s own sin. It only makes sense, because the deeper you walk with Christ, the more you know you need Christ.

How do you see your dadness, your momness, as preparation for redemption? You can’t save your kids, but you can stack as much kindling as possible around their hearts and ask God to light it on fire for Christ. Joseph’s role as a daddy was preparation for Jesus to die on a cross. Your role as a daddy, as a mother, is to prepare for your kids to meet Jesus and to fathom how deeply they need His work on the cross. That means, more than anything, you have to believe and know Jesus for yourself. Being a daddy and husband is humbling.

Joseph humbly needed his stepson Jesus’ redemption more than he needed anything else. As a dad, Joseph was paying the bills and feeding this young man, all the while knowing he desperately needed Jesus to go to the cross and pay for his sins. This is the greatest legacy of any man. Whatever you’re called to do, whatever gifts and talents God has put inside of you to fulfill, the defining relationship of your life is Jesus. You can gain the whole world, and if you don’t have Jesus, you lose your soul, and you’ve gained nothing. You can be a humble man, who works a humble job, and still make an impact on this world that is greater than that of some presidents, all because you knew and loved Jesus.

Meditation: Upon waking from his dream, Joseph’s decisions from that point forward were governed by his responsibility toward Jesus. The point of family is not to be about marriage or your children first. If your spouse or kids are first, then they have become idols in your life and they are false gods. Jesus must take center stage—the most prominent place—in your family. Your commitment to follow and obey Jesus is more important than your commitment to please your spouse and kids.

Prayer: My dear heavenly Dad, thank you for bringing me hope through Your gospel. Thank You for adopting me into Your family and being such a good Father. I pray that you would help me to live out the examples You’ve set in Scripture, with Jesus and for Jesus and through Jesus. Let my actions and attitude always be to point to Jesus for the good and benefit of my spouse, my children, my church, and my city. Amen.