Photo by Mallory

Photo by Mallory

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Monday, December 14, 2015

Joseph's Patience

I'd like to share another Christmas devotion. "Joseph's Patience" is a devotion published in Simply Christmas: Memories, Traditions, & Stories of the Season co-authored by Vickie Phelps and me.

"Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary?" Matthew 13:55

I think of Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus, as a patient man. He was a carpenter and by trade his work required meticulous effort if done well. When Joseph made furniture or toys for the neighborhood children, I can imagine him attending to each minute detail of the pieces he constructed.

The hours he must have spent sanding the wooden surfaces to perfection, the many times he redid a corner so that it matched with precision, the days he became weary but labored on until he finished an undertaking. Yes, I would have treasured something Joseph had built.

I can see his patience in his workshop manifested in his life with Mary. While Joseph was pledged to marry Mary, the Bible tells us “she was found with child of the Holy Ghost” (Matt. 1:18). Joseph could have reacted any number of ways to this news other than how he did. Many of today’s men would have exploded into accusations against Mary and her immoral behavior.

Joseph knew he couldn’t be the father of the child he’d learned that Mary carried. His response to the news was wrapped in his compassion for Mary. He didn’t want her to face public judgment and stoning if this news became known in their community. He would sign the necessary legal papers to quietly dissolve their engagement.

As Joseph considered the situation, an angel appeared in his dream and confirmed to Joseph the imminent birth of Jesus. The angel told Joseph that Mary’s conception was from the Holy Spirit, and to “fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife” and “thou shalt call his name Jesus” (Matt. 1:20, 21). Waking from his dream, Joseph did as the angel had said.

Prayer: God, give us Joseph’s patience, compassion, and obedience as we prepare for the celebration of the birth of Jesus, Savior of the world.

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