Over the last few weeks, we have been excited to share about the numerous ways individuals can make an impact on the child. The opportunities included individuals helping biological families be reconciled to their children; individuals that assisted and supported foster and adoptive families, so that they may take or maintain a placement; and praying for and supporting a case worker, so they know they are not alone. We are so grateful for the churches that own their unique roles, so that together we can see to it that no child is without a home that needs one.
Today I want to highlight the significant role of the godly dad. I am always a little curious about Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus. Not much is known about Joseph from the Scriptures. We know he was not the biological dad of Jesus and the scripture has this unsettling tension around Joseph’s role. Jesus was not Joseph’s to claim. Joseph got to give Jesus his name, provide for him, protect him, and love him, but there was not really a defining role for Joseph. Was he the adoptive dad? Was he a foster dad? Stepdad? The reality was that he was first and foremost obedient to God, and he seemingly did all the things that Godly dads do. He is Jesus’ dad to us and the world – (“Isn’t this the Carpenter’s son…?” Matthew 13:55 – not because of a bloodline connection or a title, but because of who Joseph was to Jesus.
Joseph’s life on earth initially seems to get more difficult because of Jesus, not better. Joseph experienced emotional and physical strife. His love story with Mary was interrupted due to the surprise of her pregnancy. Even after the birth of Jesus, their life wasn’t the beautiful, surreal Christmas story we often present. Joseph lived in fear for his family’s lives. He had to move his family multiple times and go into exile because of Jesus. But, Joseph got to see the fruit of his efforts and involvement as Jesus’ dad. We see this in Jesus’ interactions with the Temple priests as a 12-year-old boy. I know Mary and Joseph were upset and scared at the realization that their son was missing; but I also wonder if Joseph had a little dad pride when he heard how everyone was amazed at the wisdom and knowledge of Jesus’ responses to their questions. What part did Joseph play in this? Well, to understand Joseph’s role in discipling the “I AM” would be outside my theological pay grade, but we do know by this same passage that Joseph and Mary had brought Jesus to this feast every year. They had raised Jesus well in a godly home and Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and favor with God and man.
Dads, your role may be difficult, confusing, unsettling, and, at times, seemingly unnatural. Though, As a Christ follower, it will be supernatural and worth it, as you become the hands and feet of our heavenly Father who wants to put the lonely in families, defend the weak, and father the fatherless. We encourage you to be only who you can be in this space and stir and prod other godly men to be involved as well. Be strong and courageous, protect, but yet be tender and love unconditionally the children that God has given you. We know that you will see the God who does exceedingly abundantly more than we could ever think or imagine in the midst of your obedience. We need you and are cheering for you and thank you for leading the way!
This Christmas season all of us have a part to play in caring for vulnerable children and families. Every part is important and we want to encourage you to do what you can do. Do for one what you wish you could do for all. If we all do our little part, we know things will be significantly different for the children and families in state care, not just on this earth, but for eternity.
Merry Christmas from the 111Project Team!