You may not be a parent, but I tell you being a Dad is incredibly fulfilling and very difficult. I remember sitting in the “delivery room” as my wife was going through cycles of pain and hopeful uncertainty. Some ice chips and a small bit of cranberry juice were the only solace in the active skirmish taking place within her (as if that provided any sustenance to carry her through the battle to come). In the midst of this quiet room, all I could do was wait, do my best to comfort her, and keep my own anxious thoughts to myself. I recall the moment one of the nurses indicated we were getting close. “We” was not very accurate, but I appreciated the pseudo-inclusion. She went to get the doctor and said, “make sure you don’t push yet.” The moment the door creaked shut, I heard this guttural hiss from my wife, so I asked, “wait, are you pushing?” In a half grunt and a voice much deeper than I recall her having, she said “I DON’T THINK SO.” It wouldn’t help to call her a “liar,” so I jumped up and ratted her out to the nurses. Moments later my beautiful daughter was born. From the moment we uneasily receive that swaddled, cooing lump of personhood, we are forever changed for good and for bad. On the good side, we now have a fuller purpose to bring life and hope to another, but on the bad side, this good threatens to take down the walls of our pride and personal desires. “What do you mean we can’t go on that vacation now?” “What do you mean I have to lose sleep and still get up at 5:00am to go to work?” “Are you serious? How can so much stuff come out of such a small thing?” Two kingdoms are fighting within the city walls, where a parent’s heart, will, and self-importance become the battleground for true “parenthood.” Success requires leaving a part of ourselves behind like a field amputation in the middle of cannon fire. Mary’s husband, Joseph, is portrayed in Matthew’s gospel account as a man who stepped into the role of parent before setting eyes on his child, in fact, this child was certainly not his own. Even if you don’t have children and never plan to, stand in his place for a moment and you will see the magnitude of Joseph’s faithfulness and sacrifice in adversity. Betrothed to a pregnant virgin, ready to quietly slip out the door, called by God to marriage, we see Joseph choosing true sacrificial fatherhood.
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Isaac Serrano is Lead Teaching Pastor of South Valley Community Church. He likes talking theology, history, and culture. Isaac lives in Gilroy with his family. On his days off, he likes to go fishing and venture outdoors. Isaac serves on the leadership board for the Regeneration Project and the school board of Pacific Point Christian Schools.