More Than Just Dad Jokes
“When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him.” Matthew 1:24
Our culture has made fatherhood into something silly. “Dad Clothes,” “Dad Jokes,” and even “Dad Music,” are all greeted with a collective groan of a society that seems to ridicule the role of a father. The idea of “Father Knows Best” seems as archaic as a black and white television show. However, our heavenly Father designed the family for the sake of the care and instruction of children. Perhaps, we can garner some guidance on God’s plan for fatherhood from history’s most famous step-father, Joseph.
Sts. Matthew and Luke both provide insights into the role that Joseph played as the earthly father of the long-promised Messiah. In Matthew’s Gospel in chapters 1 and 2, an angel of the Lord appears to Joseph four different times and gives directions to him regarding the care and protection of Mary and the Child. Matthew records no oral response from Joseph. He simply does what he was directed to do. As Matthew had previously noted, Joseph was a just or righteous man. He demonstrates that obedience doing things that seemed shocking to the uninstructed. However, Joseph takes in his pregnant fiancée, takes her all the way to Egypt, and then returns to Israel, eventually Galilee all according to the instructions that were given to him. In Luke’s Gospel, though Joseph’s involvement is little more than implied, the Child is circumcised according to the Law and given the name Jesus, purification is made for Him, and every year the family comes to Jerusalem for Passover. In both accounts, Joseph is silent, but always faithful.
God’s design for families is just as important today. Though not his own biological son, Joseph did what He was commanded to do according to God’s Word. Our prayer is that fathers today will be like Joseph, caring for their children and bringing them up in the fear and instruction of the Lord. Children do not need Dads who are hip. They need fathers who bring them to God’s House and teach them God’s Word. Dads are also able to teach their children to drive or play catch, to ride a bike or to fish, but there is nothing more important in a Father’s calling than to help them hear the voice of their heavenly Father through His Word. No children think their father is cool and that’s okay. May God help all earthly fathers and step-fathers to be like Joseph and to simply carry out the responsibilities given to them. When they fail, may they never forget that they are forgiven by their Heavenly Father on account of His one, perfect Son, Jesus.
Prayer – Heavenly Father, we give thanks to you for the blessing of Christian homes where the love of Christ remains at the center for all who dwell therein. Grant Your Spirit’s guidance all those who bear the responsibility of fatherhood that they might follow in the example of Joseph and dutifully live according to Your commands that those children entrusted to their care may lead lives of faith according to Your Word; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Fraternally in Christ,
President Lee Hagan