This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about[d]: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet[e] did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “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. 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.”
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”[g] (which means “God with us”).
24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
This entire Christmas season, I have not been able to get the character of ‘Joseph’ out of my head and heart. Every time I re-read the Nativity Story, I am more and more impressed that Joseph is the real hero.
We actually know very little about Joseph. We know he was a young man engaged to Mary. We know he was originally from Bethlehem and living in Nazareth. We know he was an honorable, law-abiding citizen. Yet none of these facts or traits are why we are still telling his story.
We are still talking about Joseph 2000 years later for one simple reason:
Joseph chose to raise a child that was not his own.
It is as simple as that.
Many in the White’s family are answering the Call of God by leaving a ‘Joseph Legacy.’
Jared and Erica Cordes are two of those people.
Jared and Erica met at the University of Wisconsin, where they were both NCAA Championship runners. They continued to get serious as they traveled to Colorado Springs as Olympic hopefuls. Both shared a devout faith and a determination to help the most marginalized of children.
When Jared and Erica married and moved to Wabash, Indiana, they felt called to foster children. They were introduced to a sibling group of four from White’s, whose ages were: four, three, three and two. The children came from a challenging background, and it was apparent that caring for them initially was a full time job. Erica left her position as a high school social worker in order to be a 24-hour-a-day social worker for four toddlers. The two girls and two boys soon thrived under the love of Jared and Erica, and in 2008, Jared and Erica adopted those four children.
Six weeks after signing the adoption papers, Jared and Erica found out they were pregnant. Isaiah was born, followed by Tesa a few years later. Having six children (many with long-stemming issues) has not been easy. But you will never hear Jared and Erica complain.
In fact, they are too busy working three jobs each to ever complain. Currently, Erica is a health coach at a local doctor’s office, she teaches spin classes at the Y (at 5 a.m.!) and helps Jared farm their blackberry fields by hand (often with a baby on her lap as she drives the tractor). Jared works at Broadbeck Seed in the off season, helps his father farm and also runs Cordes Blackberry Farm. They are heavily active in their church and community.
In the Cordes kitchen, there is a simple sign that epitomizes their faith. It simply says “Work Hard. Trust God.” I cannot think of a better reflection of the humility and trust.
Is God calling you, like the Cordes family, to live a Joseph Legacy? I hope and pray you will answer the call.
On His Team,
Amy Cornell, Campus Chaplain