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A Salt of the Earth Guy (22-12-22)

A Bible Reading: Matthew 1. 18 - 25 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.


A Thought

When it comes to the birth of Jesus, we can almost ignore Joseph, despite him having another leading role in the nativity play. We know he was a carpenter, but that’s about it. Let’s look a bit more closely.


Joseph has a sort of modest salt of the earth, solid goodness to him. He’s the tall silent type who is uncomfortable in a crowd, there in the background, not saying much but bringing stability and strength by his very presence. He works with his hands, and he likes to do the right thing. Joseph is not the sort of man to have fanciful dreams of angelic messengers. He is probably more likely to be dreaming about timber and footings, hammers and saws, and his next building project.


This salt of the earth guy is faced with a huge dilemma. His fiancée is pregnant and he has had nothing to do with it. She has come out with some nonsense about an angel and this baby belonging to God. Is he horrified? Angry? Disappointed? All of the above and more? Quite possibly! What should he do? He has clearly spent some time mulling things over and has come to a decision. Joseph is a good man, who loves Mary, and he does not want to humiliate and disgrace her in public, so he has decided to deal with the situation as quietly as possible.


At this point he too has a visitation from an angel in a dream. Joseph is not dreaming up the angel, the angel is coming to find Joseph and talk to him. And it’s all a bit deep. The child is given two names: the first is Jesus, meaning Saviour, and the second is Immanuel, meaning ‘God with us’. These are massively deep ideas. How much of this did Joseph grasp or understand. Probably not much. It more likely left him gasping, but nevertheless, like Mary, he accepted it and trusted in a sort of ‘beyond understanding’ obedient humility.


What is happening to Joseph is far beyond the world of rational thought and intellectual analysis. We cannot expect to fully understand all the things of God, but we can expect to find, or to be found. When God comes seeking your help, will you respond with a ‘yes’ even if you don’t understand all the implications?


A Prayer Lord God, as you are finding me, help me to find you, as you are speaking, help me to hear,

as you are appearing, help me to see, that I might awaken and do as you command.

Amen.


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