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The Character of the Carpenter

By Cathy Irvin
Staff Writer We all know the story of how Mary gave birth to Jesus in the manger. Yet we don't always consider Joseph's story. He was a simple carpenter who fell in love with a nice, Jewish girl. It is hard to imagine how suprised he must have been when he found out his fiancee was pregnant.

Joseph could have chosen to leave Mary but an angel appeared to him and told him not to fear. This was the same angel who told Mary she was chosen to be the mother of Jesus by Immaculate Conception.

What an honor for Mary and Joseph. I think about how Joseph was entrusted to be the earthly father of the Son of God. Even so, he may have felt confused. After all what would people think?

He decided to toss all his thoughts about himself and other people aside and pondered what the angel said. He not only wanted to obey God but loved Mary. He married her promising to take care of her through the best and worst of times. He knew Herod wanted to kill all baby boys from the ages of  two and under so, he had to act fast to protect his family.

For this I admire Joseph, a man of true character. He took his wife away from all they knew to protect the child and even when there was no room for Mary to deliver Jesus, I picture him turning a bad situation into good by finding the best possible accommodations for Mary and their baby. They traveled far-off through the desert and the cold, yet his thoughts were only on his family.

Do we look out for the welfare of others over ourselves like Joseph?  Putting our family, friends and even strangers first is a vital part of being a Christian. The Bible tells us to prefer one another over ourselves. This Christmas, we have that opportunity. We can do this not just by gifts so much as by little acts of kindness, loving others, encouraging them, and making special time out of our busy schedules to do something unexpected for someone you normally might not do for.

We should be making a difference with our lives for all to see, not to get the praise but for Christ’s love to be shown. I know that the Lord always gives back what you give away.  

"Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, presseddown, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you" (Luke 6:38).

Joseph was a man we can take lessons from during this season. He didn’t complain about his lot in life, and received the high honor of  being with Jesus a lot since he was His earthly father. Mary was chosen but so was Joseph.  He could have told Mary to find someone else so his reputation wouldn't be ruined in his hometown.

Not only was he obedient, he wanted to do the will of God because he loved Him. I know that when some people give their heart to the Lord, they think all their problems will be over and when those trials come, they don’t understand. Joseph knew what he heard sounded strange but, his faith in God gave him the confidence that it would all work out. He did not run and, he did not argue. He simply walked out the plan of God.

If you have the chance to see the movie “The Nativity Story” (and I hope you do), perhaps you will see Joseph as I saw him. He was a simple, ordinary man that loved God and wanted to display that love. Shouldn’t we be people of integrity, those who honor the Lord like Joseph, showing compassion and love to all those we encounter?  We too have the honor of being called sons and daughters of God.

"Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves" (Romans 12:10, NIV).

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