We do it for the kids. We do it for us too. But we do a lot of stuff to make sure that our children or grandchildren have a great Christmas, don’t we? We want to give them good memories of their Christmasses like we had or better than what we had. So many of us focus on a whole bunch of little details that make things special. Using wrapping paper is so much more fun than just opening a brown paper box. Putting a gift in a big stocking is a great little touch. Matching pajamas that say Papa bear, mama bear, and baby bear are cute and fun while sitting in front of a TV that has a yule log burning and Christmas songs playing. All of the little things, all of the details add up to something really special. And if your kids, or grandkids, or husbands or wives haven’t said it to you yet, Thanks parents for being great. Thanks for all of your hard work making this Christmas great. Remember to say thank you to the people in your life that have done those things, not just when you get a gift. Thanks for coming to church here today even though you are getting busy because today is a detail that you don’t want to brush aside.
Anyway back to our text. Let’s look at Jesus’ family and what they did to set up for his Christmas. He has 3 sorts of parental units, doesn’t he? He has Mary, his mother who carried him and gave birth to him. You have God as his Heavenly Father, and then you have Joseph, his earthly father, who doesn’t pass along any of his DNA to Jesus but does adopt him as his son.
And each of them is important in the life of Jesus and each of them makes sure that there are some important details set up for Jesus on this first Christmas.
What details did Joseph make sure were in place for Jesus?
What details did Mary make sure were in place for Jesus?
What details did God make sure were in place for Jesus?
Let’s start with Joseph. Jesus’ earthly Father. The whole first chapter of Matthew focuses on Joseph. Matthew 1 starts with this verse “This is the genealogy[a] of Jesus the Messiah[b] the son of David, the son of Abraham:”
And it starts with Abraham goes through David and ends with
“and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah.”
Jesus was born into the house and line of David. Because Joseph was of the house and line of David. That’s why he went back to Bethlehem to be counted there. He was born into that family. And in case you were thinking well that not his real Father, that's a technicality, well Mary was also a descendant of David, we learn that from her genealogy in Luke 3.
Joseph is not God the Father. But he is a good father. He is a believer in the promised Savior. He is a man who wants to do the right thing to serve God. He is strong. And boy does he get tested. Joseph finds out while he engaged to a woman that she is pregnant, and he is sure that it is not his child. That had to be a gut punch for him. What other conclusions could he come to by himself other than Mary is having some other man's child? In his mind, the marriage is over. But, Instead of disgracing Mary and having a big public display by bringing her into the temple to accuse her of adultery, which was his right to do. Joseph decides by himself that he is going to do his best to keep Mary and that child from receiving shame from the community. Even though Joseph was hurt by something he thought Mary did, he didn’t want to hurt her. Instead of welding rights anger, he shows love, and compassion, to someone who from what he assumed, didn’t deserve it.
That is love that isn’t fragile. That is love that reflects the love that God has for us. That care and compassion and patience is something that Joseph gave as a gift to Mary and that baby who wasn’t his. Even before they asked for it. Even without an excuse.
Then God fills in Joseph to his plans for Christmas. He needs Joseph to know a few of the details that are going to change Joseph the carpenter's life in a really big way. He appears to Joseph in a dream and tells him. Joseph Mary didn’t cheat on you. The child that she is carrying is from the Holy Spirit. God doesn’t explain how this happened he just said it did happen. Then God tells Joseph the plan for the Christmas family. Everyone has a job. Everyone will do something and then it's going to be perfect. God sets up the plan with verse 20.
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.
Don’t divorce her Joseph and cancel the engagement that you had. Back then engagements were legally binding. You couldn’t just call off an engagement. When an engagement ended it would end in divorce. Anyway Joseph mary Mary. She didn’t cheat on you. She did nothing wrong. This is God’s plan. here is what everyone is going to do.
21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,[f] because he will save his people from their sins.”
Mary, Joseph, Jesus. Everyone has a job. When you compare giving birth to someone and giving a name to someone there is a big difference in the amount of effort each one of those takes. She, being Mary you are going to give birth to a son. That’s all Mary has to do. There is a lot to unpack in that line. That’s all you Mary has to do, carry Jesus for 9 months, during the ninth month ride down 70 miles on a donkey, and give birth to a Son in a stable. But remember the angel of the Lord is talking here to Joseph. The angel already talked to Mary and told her what she was going to do. The angel is just repeating to Joseph this is what is going to happen. She will give birth to a son. And you will give him the name Jesus.
The fact that Joseph is naming Jesus means that he is declaring that this is my son. He is adopting Jesus as his own. Right away off the bat. Joseph names his son even though he is not the biological father, that is his boy. He is going to be called Jesus son of Joseph the carpenter. It wasn’t just about the name it was about what it meant to be the one naming him. He was going to care for him. He was going to provide for him. He was going to raise Jesus as his firstborn son. He was going to believe something that is only going to happen once in the history of all of mankind, that the woman he was pledged to be married to, was going to give birth to the Son of God, and he was going to raise him as his own.
Mary you are going to give birth. Joseph you are going to be his Father. You two will be his parents. And here is what Jesus is going to do.
He is going to save the people from their sins. He’s not going to overthrow the Romans. He’s not going to make you rich and powerful. He’s not going to bring you health wealth and happiness. What this child is going to do, is save people from their sins. Even before Jesus was born the Angel of the Lord told Jesus’ earthly father who was going to adopt him. This son of yours is the promised Christ who is going to save his people from their sins. He never had to wonder I wonder what my son is going to do when he grows up. He might have wondered how God was going to fulfill all of his prophecies how all of these things were going to happen. But every time that Joseph called Jesus to the supper table or into the woodshed to work or rocked him to sleep at night and set him down to sleep at night and he said I love you, Jesus, he was reminded of who he was holding.
Ya Sha, He saves. That’s what Jesus' name means. Every time he said, Jesus. He saves, comes here. Good morning, He saves. Are you thirsty, he saves. He saves his people from their sins.
What are you going to do? Where are you in all of this? We have heard the Christmas story before. We have been through these details. Because we are his people. We are the people that will receive the benefit of everything that Jesus has done for us because we believe in him.
But being his people means something. It means that you have accountability to your God to live your life the way that he wants you to. It means that you have a responsibility to pass along truths that you have learned to the next generation. God had a plan for everyone in the Christmas story, just like he has a plan for you. Are you listening to him?
Are you working on the details of everything that God has said for you? Or do we grumble and complain or drag our feet when God tells us to do something? Read my Bible? I don’t have time for that. Forgive people. That’s too hard. Listen to all God’s commands? I’m more for just following the general guidelines of Christian faith.
The details matter to God. God crossing his T’s and dotting his eyes is the reason why you can be sure that you are included in God’s plan of salvation because he didn’t forget about you and your sins. He did everything that he promised to do.
When the Angel told Joseph what was going to happen. He just said this will happen. There wasn’t a doubt about it. It wasn’t a request, Joseph would you consider adopting Jesus as your child and giving him the name Jesus? No, it was Joseph who gives him the name Jesus. When the angel talked to Mary he didn’t say, “Would you consider being the mother of Jesus and being the virgin prophesied about in Isaiah that is going to give birth to a son, a be a sign from God. No, it was just this is what is going to happen. It is as good as done.
The same is true when he talked about what Jesus was going to do for all the people. He will save the people from their sins. There is 100% confidence that this is going to happen exactly the way that God had planned it. Because with God he doesn’t mess up little details. He doesn’t make small mistakes. He doesn’t forget. He is perfect. And he planned to save you and all those who believe in him, his people from their sins. He did that through his son Jesus Christ.
He did that not just for the children. He did that for the whole world. For each and every one of us. No matter if you feel like the world revolves around you or you are a detail that many people forget, he died for you. He saved his people from their sins. Amen.