(Apologies for the low audio quality)
Joseph is often a character in the Christmas story who is pushed into the background, as other more significant players come on the scene. So today in our morning service we are with Joseph, at his woodworking business. He and Mary have returned from Egypt where the angel sent them to protect the baby Jesus from the wrath of the Roman authorities, who, on hearing from the wise men that a king had been born, ordered the deaths of all the Jewish babies under two years of age. The narration begins with Joseph addressing Yahweh (as he would have known God to be). In his heart there have been times when he has felt that this God was not a God who has been with us (Immanuel, God With Us, was a name they would call Jesus).
He speaks to God about some of those confusing times, stopping at intervals to complete a task that is on the bench. The work, it seems, helps his thought processes to clear; he thinks about Jesus’ birth, Egypt, and the news of the death of all the baby boys. How did that affect him as a father? Why was the price of this baby boy so high: what was he going to be when he grew up?
The idea is to link what we know about Christmas -- why Jesus came -- and what He actually did by giving His life for us -- which we remember at Easter. When the dialogue between Joseph and God ends, just as Joseph finishes the task he set out to do, Joseph picks up a cross intended to be used by the Roman authorities to crucify another innocent Jewish man.