Joseph, the Father.

Joseph, the Father.
It took me 73 years as a Christian to find this beautiful painting of Joseph carrying the Baby Jesus while an exhausted Mary slept. Every year at Xmas I remember Mary, pregnant and full term sitting side saddle on a bony donkey riding a dusty road. I know there was no room at the Inn. I am nonplussed that the birth of the Messiah took place in a stable with animals in attendance. I am in awe at the account of the host of Angels who appeared to the shepherds minding their sheep. I am astounded that three wisemen followed a star from the East to find the new born King. In all these years I have hardly spared a thought for Joseph the understanding young man who accepted his wife and the message the Angel had for him. The silent provider and protector who cared for his wife Mary. The disappointed husband who was unable to find a decent place for his wife to deliver her baby. The terrified husband who handled the birth with no professional help. No midwife. No hot water. No fresh linen. Totally unprepared for the visitors who came to visit the baby in the manger with no crib for a bed. The silent listener who listened in wonder to the tales of angels announcing the baby’s birth and the star that shone in the East. After the visitors had left, an exhausted Mary must have dozed off. He must have tenderly tucked her in with the only blanket they had. Seeing the baby stir, Joseph must have picked up the infant and moved away so that His mother would not be wakened. And like all fathers who held their babies in a quiet moment, he too must have moved the swaddling clothes ever so slightly to inspect the baby’s limbs and count His fingers and toes. When the roughened hand of the Carpenter touched the Baby’s soft palm, the Baby must have gurgled as His little fist curled around Joseph’s finger, encapturing the father’s heart forever. As he wrapped the Baby back in the swaddling clothes, he must have gazed at His sleeping form and wondered about the Angel’s prophecy. He must have heard the Angel’s voice telling him that the infant he held in his arms , close to the warmth of his heart , was the King of Kings and the Messiah of the world. perhaps this moment depicted in the painting must have the epic moment when he remembered that the Angel had said that the Baby was to be named Jesus.
As we celebrate His birth may you be filled with happiness and joy. As we enter the New Year ,May peace and all God’s blessings surround you all 365 days .

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