A Hymn about Joseph for Christmas: “O How Tender Was the Man”


Words by Michael A. Milton, 1999; Tune: REDHEAD/Richard Redhead, 1853

“Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord Commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she Had brought forth her firstborn Son.  And he called His name Jesus” (Matthew 1:24,25, NKJV).

O how tender was the man

Chosen by the Lord to stand;

Next to Mary meek and mild,

And the little Promised Child;

Joseph was that tender man

Chosen by the Lord to stand.


Joseph came to understand

By an angel’s sure command,

What God had for him to do,

He was faithful he was true,

Joseph was a faithful man,

So he heeded God’s command.


God the Father, God the Son,

God the Spirit, Three in One

Willed it from before the earth,

Christ would come of Virgin birth;

Woman fell, so it would be

Such a birth would set her free.


Joseph, so we oft may think

From the scene must always shrink;

But the Word of God is clear:

Joseph’s part was very dear;

Earthly fathers have their place,

Showing Heaven’s caring face.


Let us, men, like Joseph be

Serving God so faithfully;

For this world will need to see

What a Father God will be;

Just as Joseph played the part,

So we too reveal God’s heart.

About Michael A. Milton, Ph.D.

Michael A. Milton, Ph.D., MPA (University of Wales; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), is an American Presbyterian pastor, theologian, and author.
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