“Good News of Great Joy,” Day 1: A Song for Joseph

November 30, 2015

booklet_coverI recently created a 26-day Advent devotional booklet for my church called “Good News of Great Joy.” I will be posting a devotional from it each day between now and Christmas day. Enjoy!

Scripture: Matthew 1:18-19

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas,” as I’m sure either Bing Crosby, Johnny Mathis, or Perry Como is telling us somewhere up or down our radio dial right now. Indeed, it’s beginning to sound a lot like Christmas, too. Some radio stations play Christmas music round the clock from Thanksgiving to Christmas Day.

Since I love Christmas music, I’m not complaining—except about one small thing: We never hear a good Christmas song about Joseph, Jesus’ adoptive father! Have you noticed? Mary certainly gets plenty of well-deserved attention in song—like, for example, in Amy Grant’s beautiful “Breath of Heaven.”

The Bible even features Mary singing her own song, the Magnificat, in Luke 1:46-55. By contrast, we never hear Joseph speak in his own words anywhere in scripture.

One Canadian rock band, a favorite of mine, sought to remedy that. They wrote a song about Joseph, in Joseph’s voice, recounting the likely argument that took place between Joseph and Mary after she broke the news to him that she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit. According to that song, here is what Joseph says to her:

Rumors are flying all over Galilee these days
And, Mary, I’m trying to be cool.
When my friends walk by ’em, they cannot look me in the eye
Baby, I’m trying
You’re asking me to believe too many things
You’re asking me to believe too many things

I love the way this song humanizes Joseph’s plight. It captures some of the emotional turmoil he must have been going through. Imagine: your fiancée tells you that she’s pregnant, miraculously, without the intervention of a human father. Who could blame Joseph if he said, “You’re asking me to believe too many things”? Because you know what Joseph is thinking: that his fiancée has cheated on him!

In the midst of Joseph’s anger, broken-heartedness, jealousy and disappointment, he could not imagine that God was at work in the most profoundly good and loving way possible—that through these difficult circumstances, God would soon demonstrate how much he loved the world by taking on flesh and becoming like us, so that through faith in his Son Jesus we could become like him.

Are you dealing with anger or disappointment right now because something in your life hasn’t turned out the way you expected? What can Joseph’s experience teach you during this difficult experience?

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