What Did the first Christmas mean to Joseph?

Posted on December 6, 2015


Delivered at Hillcrest Baptist Church on December 06, 2015, this message focuses on the Character traits of Joseph based on how he reacted to the news of Mary’s pregnancy. Joseph is shown to be an excellent role model for all men, especially husbands and fathers.



Joseph Mat 1_18-25


The Bible doesn’t tell us much about Joseph, but he is a great role model.

What did this first Christmas mean to Joseph?

Betrothal then was more binding than most engagements are today and was normally accompanied by the groom’s payment of at least part of the bride price (dowry). Betrothal, which commonly lasted a year, meant that bride and groom were officially pledged to each other but had not yet consummated the marriage. Advances toward anyone else were thus regarded as adulterous (Deut 22: 23- 27)

1) It meant LOVE and MERCY:

Joseph and Mary were in this one year waiting period when she was found to be pregnant. Joseph truly loved Mary, and we can only imagine how his heart must have been broken by the news of her pregnancy. However, his love for her was demonstrated in his actions.

Joseph was a “just” (righteous) man. When he thought he had been betrayed and disrespected, he still chose to put Mary’s interests first. (In today’s society, people commonly use any and all means available to publicly shame someone who has wronged them.) In our society, its “all about me.” People don’t care who they hurt, as long as they get what they want and they don’t have to look bad in front of their peers. But not Joseph, he chose not to create a public scandal by exposing her condition to the judges at the city gate, which is where he would have put her on trial. Such an act could have resulted in Mary’s death by stoning (Deut. 22:23-24). Instead he decided to divorce her quietly.


Joseph was genuinely concerned about the events. He thought about the recent events, presumably in an attitude of humble prayer. Through that humility, he was able to hear the voice of God. He found out that things were not as they had seemed, and with God, such is often the case. We are often too quick to jump to conclusions, while pride stands in the way of the truth. Most of the time we are only concerned with “saving face,” and have no interest in an explanation. Pride keeps us from hearing God’s voice! When that happens, the results can be disastrous. In Mary’s case, it could have meant death!

The angel explained to Joseph that Mary’s condition was not caused by man, but of the Holy Spirit.

The news that the angel brought to Joseph must have been almost unbelievable, but Joseph readily accepted it. The Child would be the Messiah, the one to deliver the people from the bondage of sin. This was extraordinary news, and must have been exciting to Joseph. No more the blood of goats and bulls.

  • Hebrews 9:13-14

No more yearly reminders of sin:

  • Hebrews 10:3

No more sacrifices day after day, week after week, year after year!

  • Hebrews 7:26-27
  • Hebrews 10:10

We can only imagine what Joseph must have been thinking. Perhaps it brought to mind the prophecies of old. Perhaps he recalled the words of the prophet.

  • Jeremiah 23:5-6

With the words of the angel, Joseph must now realize that he has become part of the perfect fulfillment of prophecy.

The angel recites Isaiah 7:14, a promise of hope which was probably very familiar to Joseph.

Joseph was immediately obedient, and went ahead with the marriage.

3) To Joseph, this first Christmas meant GRACE:

Joseph not only married Mary, he also accepted Jesus as his own son. Joseph was truly a righteous man.

Many men may not have readily accepted this responsibility. Many men couldn’t stand for taking second place, behind a child who wasn’t even biologically theirs. But Joseph, acting in grace and humble obedience, took Jesus to raise as his own. It was, undoubtedly due to these very attributes of love, humility, and grace, that God chose Joseph.

We need more men like this today. Men who will stand up and take responsibility. Men who will be leaders in their homes and churches. Men who will raise Godly families. Men need to actually be men!

Men, you need to stand up and be the man that God has called you to be. You are accountable for your family, you need to act like it! What a different world this would be, if we had more of these men.

Joseph was a class act all the way. We see that he faithfully, obediently and selflessly put aside his own desires, and disregarded tradition by not consummating the marriage until after Jesus was born. He kept Mary pure.

Joseph provides us an example of love, mercy, humility and grace. What a wonderful example of how to start off the Christmas season. By following Joseph’s example, you will be a reflection of God’s love to all those around you.

Posted in: Holidays, Sermons