This Christmas I have been thinking about Joseph. We often talk about Mary, the blessed Virgin but prompted by this 80s song by Michael Card , I got my puppet to sing it to the congregation when I did the Christmas talk at the Good News Group. (and here are the lyrics)
If you want a multi-sensory experience with this post – get yourself a small piece of play dough or ball of blue tack and follow the instructions at each section. There is also a picture and symbol with each part too.
The word Immanuel means “God with us” and The Bible says:
“God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son. Anyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life.” John 3:16 (NIrV)
Joseph became the dad to God’s son. What an important job. I am sure that Joseph loved God and we know he obeyed God. God sent him the message by an angel, and so he married Mary. We don’t hear much about him in the Bible because it tells us that God was really Jesus’s Father – and Jesus came to show us what God his father was like – and tell us that God is our Father too.
So what kind of Father is God?
A Father who Loves…
Make a ball with your playdough and think that as you hold something you made in your hands – God holds the world in his hands and he loves it so much. He wants the world to know how much he loves it. And to do that he sent his son Jesus into that world.
When we say, God so loved the world it reminds us that he made the world, and he made you. The Bible also says:
“You created the deepest parts of my being.
You put me together inside my mother’s body.
How you made me is amazing and wonderful.
I praise you for that.
What you have done is wonderful.
I know that very well.” Psalm 139:13-14 (NIrV)
A Father who forgives
Make a cross with your playdough. This reminds us of the sacrifice Jesus made for us and the hope we have when we remember that cross.
When Jesus came into this world, as well as telling us about our Father God’s love, he came to do an important job. He let people nail him to a cross to take the punishment for our sins. Our sin is that we ignore God and that leads to all kind of selfishness and bad things in the world. God knew we couldn’t make ourselves right with him. So, Jesus did this for us instead. When Jesus died, we know God raised him to life and he went up to heaven to be with his Father. We know we will not die because Jesus came alive after death. That is the hope we have when we believe in Jesus, to live with him in heaven forever. Now Jesus is alive and at work with his Father to look after all those who believe in him until that happens. That’s him looking after Us!
And the kind of Father God is, made sure Jesus left us with another very important promise – that one day Jesus would come back and make this world new and how it should be.
And that is why…
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 (NIrV)
A Father who promises always to be with us…
Make a person with your playdough. Don’t worry how rough it seems. Now breathe on it. Help it move. Can you make it live? Of course not, but God made you, he knows you and all that you love, hate, he knows all your gifts and dreams and all the things you struggle with.
When Jesus went to heaven he promised that he wouldn’t leave us. But he went into the sky and the disciples were left very sad and worried. Some days later, the Holy Spirit came and breathed God’s power into them. They had all this confidence to go out into the world and tell others about Jesus.
The Holy Spirit is God’s presence and power with us now, so you can have God’s power every day too. When times are tough, when you feel broken and when you feel amazing – God’s promise never changes. He is always with you.
“How can I get away from your Spirit?
Where can I go to escape from you?” Psalm 139:7 (NIrV)
“Lord, you have seen what is in my heart.
You know all about me.” Psalm 139:1 (NIrV)
A Father who is generous in giving gifts…
Make your playdough into a tiny world again and give it to the person next to you as a gift. Make sure we have all given and received a gift.
“God’s gifts of grace come in many forms. Each of you has received a gift in order to serve others.” 1 Peter 4:10 (NIrV)
It seems harder when you have a disability, when the world tells you ‘you can’t’. When people think you are not as good as them because you don’t learn in the same way, or because you need help to do look after yourself each day. That’s not God’s way at all.
God says anyone is his child when they believe in Jesus. He gives everyone the same gift of the Holy Spirit as everyone else that believes in Jesus. God does NOT put limitations on what you can do for him. So thank him for Jesus and be bold, be strong and praise him every day. I look forward to what he will do in your lives and what you will do for him. It’s going to be amazing.
So, what kind of Father is God?
- A Father who loves
- A Father who forgives
- A Father who promises always to be with us
- A Father who is generous in giving gifts.
I still have my earthly Father. I call him Dad and I love him. But he is just a human being just like me. He can’t be all the things my heavenly Father is. Jesus said we can call God a special Father name – he called it Abba – it’s the same as Daddy. Do you feel that close to God that you can call him Daddy?
I love to pray…
Daddy thank you
Daddy I love you
Daddy help me
Today God’s promise to you is that if you believe in Jesus you are his child. He promises to love you and that after you finish your life on this earth you will go to be in heaven with him. You will meet the real Jesus and live without pain, hardship or tears forever. And while you are waiting for that day he promises to be with you always….every… single… moment. Every one of you here can serve God, love God and be used for him in your life. Don’t let anyone say to you, ”you can’t”. Because when the Holy Spirit is in you, you have God’s power to do anything he asks you to do. It really is going to be an amazing life when you follow Jesus.