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The steadfast Joseph

From the December 2005 issue of The Christian Science Journal

ONE OF THE THINGS I LOVE about Joseph as the Gospels present him is his spiritual intuition. When he learned that his betrothed, Mary, was pregnant by another source, he thought about breaking off the engagement discreetly. But when an angel, or message from God, told him of the special nature of this particular birth—that the child had been conceived by the Holy Ghost and that he would be the Messiah, who would "save his people from their sins" Matt. 1:21.—Joseph accepted his role as caretaker of the child.

That might not seem too spectacular, but if you consider that King Herod and his minions were actively seeking to kill the baby Jesus, Joseph's acts—such as taking the mother and child to safety in Egypt for a while—reflect genuine courage. In some deep way, Joseph trusted that there really was a divine purpose acting in their lives.

Joseph has traditionally been described as a carpenter, teaching Jesus his own trade. But for some years, I've wondered why Jesus' parables don't seem to offer any carpentry metaphors. Having wielded a saw and hammer (badly) in my own life, I would think that line of work would be a rich source of material. But the Gospels seem silent on the subject.

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