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J is for Joseph

*Today's devotion is written by Cynthia Harrison*

J is for Joseph

Originally, this entry was slated to be about Jesus. We can all agree that Jesus is the focus of Advent, specifically his birth in a manger in Bethlehem. It can be easy to overlook Joseph. A simple carpenter, called upon to marry a woman who was already with child. A woman who would normally be considered unworthy of marriage in that culture, in that time. In Matthew 1:19 ESV we see Joseph’s true nature, “And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put [Mary] to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.”

Joseph was visited in a dream by an angel of the Lord, being told that Mary would give birth to a son who would save his people from their sins, as foretold by the prophets. Imagine being a man of little education and meager means being thrust into the fulfillment of prophecy!

A rather obscure Christmas carol is a lullaby from Joseph to the newborn Jesus, in which Joseph proclaims, “gold and diamonds I have none, and yet I hold God’s son.”

The good news for we 21st Century Christians living in Southeast Pennsylvania is that, like Joseph, we don’t need gold or diamonds to hold God’s son. Through Joseph’s humility and kindness, the Christ Child was born safely in that manger, raised to be a man and to show us the way to God. In Joseph’s story is a lesson for humanity to reach out to one another in kindness and understanding. A lesson we can use now more than ever.

-Cynthia Harrison

The background painting is "The Dream of St. Joseph" by Anton Raphael Mengs (1728-1779)