A Modern Day Joseph: The Evidence of Love through Sacrifice

12/20/13

Christmas is just around the corner, as I’m sure you are well aware. Probably, your family, like ours, has been quite busy with parties, caroling, band concerts, decorating, shopping, baking, and occasionally grabbing a quiet moment to sit by the fire to reflect on the past year. It was in one of those quiet moments that I was impressed by the nativity set sitting on our window sill—a set I picked up while visiting Uganda five years ago.

 
Nativity set from Uganda
 
It’s not a fancy nativity set, nothing spectacular or expensive to “ooh” or “ahh” over. It consists of just a few roughly carved figures made by a craftsman in an unknown Ugandan village. The people have no intricacies, no facial expressions, no rich gifts, no bright colors painted on. They simply stand—all surrounding the babe in the manger.
          
And there, among them all, sits Joseph.
 
There’s not a lot written about Joseph in the Bible, but I believe we can catch a glimpse of who he truly was by his action of obedience to God. He could have, quite simply, walked away from his relationship with Mary and the impending birth of a child, of whom he was not the father. It was an option and the Bible tells us that he had considered it. But he shows his true character when he willingly sacrificed his rights, and instead, lovingly pursued the relationship. 
 
No doubt Joseph took some heat for his commitment to Mary. I’m sure he went through persecution by his family and the local community where he worked as a carpenter. Who knows, maybe he even lost business opportunities because of his decision. Yet, we are told quite clearly that he obeyed God and became the adoptive father to Jesus.
 
In the moments that followed my pondering, I found myself realizing that there are “Josephs," among us still today. And God has placed them in the lives of children, much like He did in Jesus’ birth story, who need an earthly father to raise them with love, protection, and discipline. Allow me to briefly introduce you to one particular “Joseph” I know:
 
Reverend James Okalo Ekwang serves as Children of the Nations (COTN) Country Director in Uganda. I met Pastor James in 2008—on the same trip I purchased the nativity set. At the time, I had no idea who he was, other than the founding pastor of Truth Evangelistic Fountain Church and the newly appointed director for COTN's ministry in Uganda.
    
Pastor James has adopted orphans into his own family
       Pastor James not only cares for all the COTN children, he has adopted orphans into his own family as well. 
    
Pastor James lives the Joseph lifestyle through his actions. He not only cares for hundreds of COTN children and thousands of church members from his church, but in his personal life has adopted orphans into his own family. He willingly shares his home, his life, and his heart with those in need—and makes great sacrifices to do so. We give praise to God for his sacrificial living and example.
 
Are you a Joseph?
 
You are, indeed! As a partner with us at COTN, your faithful prayers, sponsorships, and financial gifts reflect the very nature of Joseph’s character. And how exciting to know that during this season of joy and peace, your life plays a significant part in the ongoing story of Jesus. Because of you, thousands of children around the world have hope and a future that shines bright. That is indeed good news of great joy!
 
Because of you, thousands of children around the world and are able to celebrate
Because of you, thousands of children around the world and are able to celebrate Christmas this year knowing who God is and what He did for them.