GodReflection: It’s a Boy—We Worship the Gift Baby
I already have a partial to do list for the next reality on the new earth. Can you imagine the fun it will be to drink coffee with God’s faithful greats?
I am anxious to spend some of my eternal time with Joseph the carpenter. I have great admiration for carpenter types. My dad was a carpenter named Joe. I’m easily drawn to a good carpenter Do It Yourself television show.
Is my aim set too high to look toward a relaxed cup of hot coffee with Joseph the carpenter and his son who learned the trade in the village of Nazareth? I’m sure my dad the carpenter will join us.
Carpenters are thoughtful types. They measure twice and cut once. They reflect and plan. Carpenters are craftsmen. They approach their work with care and creativity. They craft their life with many of the same skills.
I suspect God selected Joseph as the best man he knew to raise His Holy man-son. He and Mary had hearts that beat with God’s. Upon discovery that his virgin bride to be was pregnant he listened to this message from God and obeyed:
“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.”
“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 (Matthew 1:20-21 & 23-25).
In his short appearance in the Gospels we see a man whose trust was in God. At every request from the Holy, Joseph reflected Mary’s response, “I am the Lord’s servant” (Luke 1:38).
A carpenter’s hands are rough. The constant use of tools form callouses on palms and fingers. Carpenters hold in common a missing finger or a partial digit from a rare slip of a saw, knife or sharp chisel.
Those were the hands that both held and guided his son Jesus. I wonder how often the thought crossed his mind that into his hands was handed the gift and responsibility to raise “God with us?”
I’m getting ahead of myself.
It was census time in Rome. Caesar Augustus wanted to know how many people lived inside his empire. Joseph took his pregnant virgin wife to Bethlehem to participate in the count. It was the law.
Without technology for reservations they arrived and the hotels of the day were already full. It must have been a compassionate Jewish family who had only room left in the barn cave with the family animals. Protected from the night elements it would have to do.
Then it happens. Mary gives birth to God’s baby—now Joseph’s baby. Surely, it was Joseph—ever the creative carpenter—who combine a feed holder with fresh straw to create a comfy bed for their newly arrived son.
Scripture doesn’t share details of Joseph’s touch as a father. I bet he grew up holding baby sisters and runny nose little brothers at the request of his own mother.
Now, a carpenter by trade, I can easily envision his rough-skinned fingers touch the soft little face of his baby boy. He was careful not to let a stray piece of straw near new skin. He must have held Jesus countless times as he assisted Mary.
Carefully, he moved the baby from crib to mother’s lap or secured his son in his arms as he passed him to Mary seated upon the family donkey or on the seat of the family cart.
The last mention of the carpenter comes with Jesus’ miracles and teaching in his hometown. Matthew records the skeptical audience response with:
“Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas?
Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things” (Matthew 13: 55-56)?
And interestingly, Mark records the people’s reaction as:
“Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing?
Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him (Mark 6:2-3).
The carpenter’s son held in the arms of his carpenter father grew into his own identity as the carpenter.
This holiday season I want to tune out the noise of marketeers who target my selfishness and greed. I want to quiet the magnetic powerful cultural draw toward commercialism and be held like a baby in the arms of the carpenter’s son who is now the carpenter applying his craft to skillfully form my soul into the image of the Holy.
Want you join with me?
Dr. Gary J. Sorrells
A GodReflection: The Carpenter Held His Baby