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Why A Manger
by Bodie and Brock Thoene

The Nativity Story
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Book ExCerpt

Step Into Joseph's Shoes

By Bodie & Brock Thoene
Authors, Why a Manger from Why a Manger ) Joseph of Nazareth, a simple carpenter, anticipated a quiet life with his soon-to-be wife, Mary, and the blessings of a flock of children. His name in Hebrew is a prayer: "Let him increase!" Joseph was honest, loved God, and helped others poorer than himself, even though his own riches were nothing to speak of. He had always sensed the approval of God in his life ... until now.

How could Mary be pregnant-before they were married? Joseph knew he was not the father. So who was the father? Could Mary's story be true? Had an angel really told her that she, a virgin, would conceive "by the Holy Spirit"? Was that physically possible?

The questions made Joseph's head ache. He loved Mary. They had already gone through the customs for betrothal. But if he married her now, he'd be the laughingstock of Nazareth. Neighbors would count the months as Mary's waistline grew so soon after the wedding. There would be no doubt the timing was off. All of Nazareth would be hedging their bets on who the real father was ... and would call Joseph a fool.

So what should he do? Live life alone? Or forgive Mary for her betrayal, take her in, and raise another man's child as his own? The situation was beyond Joseph's control ... and beyond his understanding.

How could it be that a virgin could conceive? That this baby could be the promised Messiah? It was too much to comprehend.

Then an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream....

God's Wonderful Plan

Joseph was from a humble lineage-a family of carpenters.
If an angel appeared to you and said, "Don't be afraid! You are a part of God's wonderful plan to save the entire world," how would you respond?
The enormity of his task pressed Joseph onto the hard cold stone.

"Jesus is the Word, the Creator. And I am to be His father? I? I will carry the Son of God on my shoulders? Rock Him to sleep? Teach Him his alphabet, though His is the story of the Scriptures and the word that spoke worlds into existence? Teach Him to pray who is Lord of the Sabbath, existing in equal power and glory with God from the foundation of the world? Jesus, the son of a carpenter? It's too big for my mind to comprehend!"

Joseph would be protector, friend, and brother to Mary. As a carpenter, he was a man of great physical strength. His standing as a righteous man would also shield her reputation. His calm, quiet spirit would stand between her and the dark unseen force that must surely be seeking to destroy her respectability even now as she carried the Messiah in her womb.

None outside Mary's immediate family would know the true circumstances of Mary and Joseph's marriage. He wouldn't even be able to tell his closest friends about the angel's visit. They would think him crazy.

The responsibility of providing for Mary and the baby she carried was a heavy one. Joseph shouldered the burden with the prayer that he would never let The Lord of All the Angel Armies down. That meant never letting Mary down.

"Who am I, Lord, that You have chosen me?" Joseph asked.

The Lord replied, There are stormy seas ahead. Be strong! Stand by Mary. Comfort her. You also were chosen from the dawn of creations For this moment you were born.

Joseph-so ordinary, but gifted with humility and faith-would play a pivotal role not only for his generation, but all generations to come, throughout the world and for all eternity!

His life is proof that God uses ordinary people to accomplish His plans. What mighty plans God may be accomplishing in your life at this very moment!

"I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." - Jeremiah 29:11

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Excerpted from Why a Manger?, copyright © 2006 by Bodie and Brock Thoene. Used by Permission.
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