S-1354-CD/C 12/25/2012 Hymns: #87 #102; (S-Solo, Mary Did You Know?); #647; #95; #94
Texts: Isaiah 9:2-7; Hebrews 1:1-9; Luke 2:1-14
Theme: “It’s A BOY!!” (Luke 2:7)
Question: “Has someone said to you, ‘Did you hear the news—they had a boy’”? Armour, SD
This will be a first sermon preaching. Joseph in his visit to Armour tells of the little boy that changed his life forever.
(Joseph comes upon the scene smiling and excited as he goes from one person to the next). “Shlomo it’s a boy! Youhanan it’s a boy! Moshe, it’s a boy! Hanna it’s a boy! Can you believe it? Mary gave me my first boy. Oh, what an exciting day it was, I remember it well. I couldn’t forget the moment of His birth. I, Joseph, the carpenter from Nazareth have a boy—a boy. Mary and I are parents and we get to raise our boy in our Jewish traditions. PAUSE for a moment and go on.
But I am getting ahead of myself. Please forgive me for intruding on your worship like this, but I couldn’t help it, I needed to tell someone about this boy that was born to me—Joseph.
We grew up in the same village but I really didn’t pay much attention to her until the day I saw her going down to the well to draw water. Mary was so beautiful and I thought she would make me a good wife and help me raise a family. Having told my father, who spoke to her father, we were engaged to get married. I couldn’t wait for the day to be united with her in marriage and have the town help us celebrate our special day before God.
But one day before we got married, Mary came to see me in my shop and told me she was pregnant. My heart ached and I thought how could she do that to me. I knew the baby inside of Mary’s womb wasn’t mine. But I also knew that if I told anyone, she would be stoned to death according to our Torah’s teaching. Because I loved her so much, I wanted to divorce her quietly so that no one would hear of the shame she has brought upon me, my family, our town, and upon her too.
One night, as I tossed and turned attempting to sleep, I asked God to help me figure out a way to do the right thing. I prayed for wisdom to relieve her from my obligations to be her husband. Sleep was hard to come by. When I finally fell asleep, I was awakened to an angel standing and speaking to me saying: “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” (Mt. 1:20-21). Could that really be? That Mary is an honorable woman and she became pregnant by the power of the Holy Spirit and that boy who will be born to her would be the Savior? Could I, Joseph, son of David get the privilege to raise this boy?
The next morning, I related the story to Mary and soon after we became a family. We were waiting for the baby to be born. We were so excited about our baby. But then, an announcement rippled through our community like an earthquake. According to Caesar Augustus everyone must register for a census in the town of his birth. I didn’t like the news especially having to travel all that distance to Bethlehem knowing that my Mary, the love of my life was pregnant and would soon give birth.
To Bethlehem we went and as we were getting closer Mary began to say, “Joseph, the baby is going to be coming soon. We need a place to rest and have the baby.” We entered Bethlehem and I knocked on many doors but no one would take us in. It was cold and I was tired from walking for the last 4 days, and tired of knocking that my hands were hurting. All the while, Mary kept on saying, “Joseph, the baby will be born soon.” Finally, one of the people of Bethlehem had pity on us and gave us a place with the animals. And soon after, Mary gave birth to my boy. I held him in my hands (look at your hands and speak in Hebrew Barouch ata adonai Melech haolam, shenatata lanu hayeld hazeh) and thanked God for a healthy baby BOY.
Soon after shepherds came and told us the story of angels singing and proclaiming to them: “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Lk. 2:10-11). As they did, they bowed before Him and went out in haste to tell everyone. I could hear them tell everyone they met in the streets.
I kept wondering if this is really, truly God’s Son in the flesh. On the 33rd day we took Him to present Him at the temple according to God’s Law. As we entered the temple, Simeon and elderly man, met us and said a most amazing thing, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed” (Lk. 2:34-35). I didn’t know the meaning of those words then, but the Holy Spirit showed me what that means later.
Even while this boy was still an infant, we had to protect Him from Murderous Herod and others who wanted Him dead. We fled to Egypt as the angel told us and two years later, we returned to Nazareth.
My boy was so different from all other boys. He always said so much with few words. Never had a cross word with another. He never fought like other boys. He didn’t get into brawl with his brothers and sisters. He was always obedient to us and others.
As I watched the boy grow up, I kept wondering about the words of the angel until the time He was 12 years old, I began to see another light. We had gone to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover and on the way home He stayed behind. Three days letter, we returned to look for Him and He said, “Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house!” (Lk. 2:49)
And there were other times, like the times He helped me in my woodworking shop. At times I would see Him look at a piece of wood and hold the nails for a long time, and He would be miles away from the shop and me. I didn’t understand what He was thinking about, but I could almost see a tear in His eyes as He held the wood and nails in His hands. Oh, don’t misunderstand me; Jesus was one of the hardest helpers I have ever had in my shop. He worked hard and always things turned out well and oh, the customers were very happy.
As I grew older, I became a little wiser (like all elderly people) time has something to teach us. I began to read the Torah in a new and special way. It caused me to look at Isaiah 7:14 in a new way that the virgin will conceive and give birth to a Son, and you will call His name (EEm Anu Ael), “Emmanuel—God with us.”
As I read the Prophet Isaiah, the Holy Spirit made it clear that this boy is special. He is the One born of the virgin. He is the long promised One. That means He will be the One spoken of: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and of peace there will be no end,” (Is. 9:6-7). He will rule over an everlasting Government and Kingdom that will not end. There will be nothing that this Boy will not do and do it right. PAUSE move to another location
But as joy-filled as I am today that this boy, MY boy, is this long promised One that Isaiah talks about. Again, the Spirit led me to look at Isaiah 53 in a different light. I began to understand what my Boy will endure. That He will be The Suffering Servant. He is the One who will be bruised for our iniquity and led to the slaughter like a lamb without opening His mouth. Pause for a moment to show the severity of the punishment).
I understood why He was born. I understood the words of the angel so long ago saying, “You shall give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.” I understood the words of Simeon: “A SWORD will pierce your heart.” I understood that they will spit on Him; they will pull out His beard. He will be stricken, smitten and afflicted and He will be put to death. This boy, MY boy will have to suffer. How quickly a Father’s joy can turn to dread!
But I know that this dread is only momentary. For this boy, MY boy is unlike any other who has ever walked the earth. This Servant will save His people. My Boy will even save me! He will speak tenderly to me. He will speak of comfort. He will bring peace. Not an end to war, but peace between our Father in heaven and us! This outweighs any dread. For the dread will be for a season. This boy, MY boy is not only my son, but more importantly, He is my Savior. He will bring joy to your heart as He did mine and change it forever!
I pray that today, you will celebrate the birth of this Boy Jesus, like you have never done before—because after all, He is no ordinary boy, He is the Savior of the world—more importantly yours and mine.
Joseph leaves quietly just as he entered.