Photo by Jeff Brown

Have you been following along on our Advent road? The stable and animals are waiting patiently in Bethlehem, and we’re still with Mary in Nazareth.

You can’t get too far in Mary’s story without meeting Joseph, her betrothed (fiance). I imagine he would introduce himself something like this: I am Joseph of Nazareth, from the line of David. I am a humble carpenter who wants to lead a family in the ways of God. I’m soon to be Mary’s husband.

I learned the name Joseph means, “he will add”. It’s the perfect name for a carpenter, isn’t it? Fixing, building, creating. I imagine he promised all of what his name means to Mary. Join me. I can make a good life for us.

Whatever he imagined with Mary, it couldn’t have included anything like this:

an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.

Matthew 1:20-21

Joseph’s first born son was conceived by The Holy Spirit. Yes, I’m his father. Sort of.

And that child was the promised Messiah. Yes, he’s mine. But not really.

With God, things don’t always seem to add up, do they?

At that time, the angel gave Joseph one basic charge: Stay. Nothing for you to do here, Joseph. Nothing to fix or contribute. Just stay and trust Me. I bet Joseph hammered away at that plan for a while.

As God’s image bearers, we’re all adders at heart. We were born to create, restore, and build His Kingdom. What a blessing to have good work to do! But the work of salvation is God’s alone. We can’t be trusted with the power tools.

Joseph would eventually care for Mary, provide for his family, and be a good dad, but he couldn’t save himself. The angel’s message definitely hit Joseph in his most human place.

Joseph stands in my nativity as a reminder that we’re all adders at heart, but we have nothing to contribute to Project Salvation. Nothing more to do here. Just trust Me and stay.

Put down your hammer for a while, friend. Jesus is near.



P.S. Want to get caught up on this series? Click HERE.

4 thoughts on “Joseph

  1. Yvonne Chase 🇧🇸 (@ItsYvonneChase) December 9, 2020 / 4:52 pm

    “He will add” I did not know that is the meaning of Joseph. Thanks for the great reminder that we have nothing to do with Project Salvation. Merry Christmas to you.


    • Karen Brown December 10, 2020 / 3:44 pm

      Merry Christmas, Yvonne! Thanks for stopping by. 🙂


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