Merry Christmas to All

(I had planned to do a piece on the relationship between Jesus and Mary today – but the cold I have been battling has gotten nasty. Say a little prayer for me if you would – I am napping a lot today in hopes that I will be able to sing at Midnight Mass tonight. Ha, I’ve been at all the rehearsals…would hate to miss the real deal. Meantime, I repeat my Christmas favorite story.-CJ)

Joseph’s Way

Posted on November 2, 2015, by charliej373

(Dream of Joseph - Rembrandt)

By Charlie Johnston

 

The true son of true God was

adopted by a man, that all men

might truly be adopted by God.

Taking on our humanity He gave us a

share in his divinity. And so, we are

become a new race – sons and

daughters of the living God.

I: In His Father’s Tent

“Why must the girls marry the old men? Most like the young men better.”

Jacob’s right hand twitched; the chisel in it jumped and nicked the fleshy pad in his left. His son’s voice startled him. Save for the scraping of the wood, the tent had been silent all morning. He looked up from his bench and glared at his son. No use. Joseph was planing boards at the far end of the tent, his back to the father. Jacob’s beard lifted in wry amusement. His enigmatic son says something interesting – and does it with his back turned. How appropriate.

“Are you thinking you’d like to be married, then?” the father asked, his lips pursing to suppress his mirth.

Joseph kept planing.

“No, Father,” he said. “I just thought…well, we all laugh and play together as children, then the girls are gone. They enter the house of an elder and we don’t speak any more. It must be…fearful. And maybe lonely for them.”

Jacob was thunderstruck. How to respond to this outpouring?

“You’ve an eye for beauty, Joseph. Perhaps one of your childhood friends will bear a daughter who will be ripe when it is your time.”

Jacob knew immediately it was a silly, stupid thing to say, but he could think of nothing else.

Joseph was silent. There were many boards yet to plane today. Jacob watched his son’s back for a moment, then took up his chisel and turned back to his work. It was not until late in the day that the raspy rhythm of chisel and plane was broken again.

“I saw a woman stoned,” Joseph said.

Jacob looked up, amazed again, but wary now. “An adulteress?” he asked.

“Yes.”

“That is our law, handed down from Moses.”

“It was horrible,” Joseph said, his back still to his father. “She was all purple and bleeding, pleading for mercy. But there was no mercy there. Can this be what God intends?”

He turned to his father, eyes full, a hint of tremor on his lips. His hands kept to the wood.

Jacob’s left hand lay flat on the workbench, his right clenched a fist around the chisel. His eyes were steady and fixed on his son.

“Who was she taken with?” he asked.

“A friend of her childhood. She was barely 14.”Stoning-Bible

Understanding dawned. The father closed his eyes and lowered his head. When he lifted it again his gaze was penetrating and clear.

“Did the three of you once laugh and play together?” he asked his son.

Joseph turned back to his work. He had overplaned this board. It was ruined. Jacob saw it, too.

“Gather the wood scraps together now and take them to your grandfather,” Jacob said. “It will be cold tonight.”

“But Father, I have ruined this board. I must…”

“You must take the wood scraps to your grandfather.” Jacob’s voice was low, even gentle, but it compelled obedience. “The sun will soon set. There will be time enough tomorrow to correct your errors.”

The father turned back to his work as the son gathered together the scraps. Jacob worked late that night, pausing occasionally to examine with wonder the single misshapen board his son’s meticulous hands had ever formed.

II: The Coming of the Ark

Until his world crashed, Joseph had been preoccupied with a fantastic dream. Six times it had come, every third night these last few weeks.

It always began in a tent; a tent like his father’s, but not his father’s. Joseph was alone, doing detail work with the chisel – the sort his father always did. It was magnificent work; impossibly rich ebony, finely filigreed and ornate, more beautiful and delicate than any he had ever seen. He was lost in the work, intent on each detail when the tent began to fill with a brilliant, gently pulsing light. Turning around, he looked into the eyes of a lean, sinewy man of about 30 (his own age) who, nonetheless, bore the flowing, white beard of a patriarch. He somehow knew this to be Moses. Behind Moses was a box; the sort in which a queen might keep her most precious jewel. It was simple, yet beautiful: olive wood rubbed and oiled, inlaid with a pale blue ivory. Joseph went to it and knelt in wonder, astonished at this unlikely source of bright, throbbing light that yet did not blind. Unable to take his eyes from it, he asked, “Is this the Ark?”

“Guard it well,” Moses replied. Then Joseph would awaken. The dream should have come again last night. It might have, had Joseph slept at all. Mary came instead. It was late afternoon and Joseph was surprised to see her. It was not yet time for her to come into his house so he seldom saw her alone. She delivered the blow with a gentle, almost playful, smile.

“I am with child,” she said.

Joseph was sure he had not heard her correctly but was so confused he could say nothing at all.

“I am with child,” she repeated.

His mind raced. How can this be? Why is she smiling? Is she taunting me? No, she never taunts. He finally asked, “Who is the father?”

“Pray and you will know,” she replied, and then was gone. Joseph had never felt so alone, so forsaken, so completely and utterly crushed. And yet…that smile. Mary was not upset, certainly not frightened. In truth, she seemed joyful. How could she be joyful about such devastating news?

Joseph had long ago dismissed the idea of marriage. After witnessing a stoning he had dedicated himself, body and soul, to God, in reparation for all those without mercy and as an offering for all those in need of it. He would never have thought to court Mary. She was the most beautiful, graceful and refined woman in all of Galilee. Except for yesterday, she had never failed to bring a measure of joy to everyone she encountered, whenever she encountered them. There was an air of mystery about her; wisdom and peace flowed from some secret place in her that Joseph doubted anyone had ever penetrated. Yet she could be bold. It was Mary who told Joseph she wanted him to be her husband. After his initial shocked wonder, he delicately explained to her that he had entirely dedicated himself to God.

“So have I,” Mary replied almost gaily – and that was that. They were betrothed.

Joseph wondered what God could possibly intend for him with this humiliation. Though he had felt called from his youth to be a husband and father, he had renounced it for the sake of mercy, putting it entirely out of his mind. When Mary came to him, he thought surely God had sent her. How likely was it that any woman, much less this magnificent woman, should both love him and share his mission? And now this. What should he do?

A vision of Mary, purple and bleeding, flashed through his mind, filling him with horror and revulsion. dream-of-st-josephHe would not accuse her. He would never accuse anyone. But he could not take her into his home. A quiet bill of divorce – that was surely the answer. He would appear to be the scoundrel and she might have difficulty finding a husband, but she would not be put to shame.

Preparing to make his evening prayers, Joseph remembered Mary’s smile; her confidence and joy. So instead of asking why, he cried out, “O God, my God, what do You intend for me in this horrible situation?’

Nearby, the Angel of the Lord waited for sleep to overtake Joseph. The Angel had a message of supreme importance; news that what Joseph thought was an ending was, in fact, a beginning.

III: God With Us

Although he was glad to have found it when and where he did, Joseph would long be troubled by the memory of the wood.

It irritated him to have to travel when Mary’s time was so near. He found no work along the way; his tools were just an extra burden for the donkey. When Mary’s time did come, he was prepared. He had expected it to happen on the road. He had not expected to be unable to find a place for them to stay. Joseph was beginning to think the child would be born in a field when they came upon an old cattle shed. Joseph could not see how it kept the cattle in; it certainly would not keep the elements out. He had thought to use a manger as a makeshift cradle for the child, but there was none. Piles of hay were scattered indiscriminately about the floor. His heart sank. For a moment Joseph was overwhelmed by his own inadequacy – but only for a moment. Mary’s need was urgent.

Joseph looked around the shed and spied a pair of warped boards lying at the rear. He was filled with both gratitude and dismay as he examined them. The grain was fine; there were no knots. The wood was flawless. Only the workmanship was shoddy. The tools would prove useful, after all. Joseph had never worked at such a reckless pace. It took him scarcely half an hour to fashion a serviceable cradle. At that, he finished just in time.

Mary was gasping; the child would wait no longer. Joseph turned the full force of his attention on his wife. He took control with confident ease. The delivery was uncomplicated (thank God for small favors!). He cleaned the child and put him in Mary’s arms, then gathered together some hay and sticks to cover the holes in the roof. Finally, he was finished.

“You’re a good husband and father,” Mary murmured, handing him the boy.

Joseph’s brows lifted. “How so?” he asked.

“Everyone sees the blessing in honor and prosperity. Few can accept the blessing of humiliation and hardship.”

Joseph nodded. “The lower the net is cast, the more it gathers. nativity_shepherds_by_murilloHeaven is too high for us. I was thinking it must have pleased God to cast his net low tonight.”

“Why, Joseph, that’s profound.”

“Are you so surprised?” he asked, a wry smile curling his lips.

“The things you do are always profound, but you seldom speak of why you do them.”

They rested in quiet contemplation, cuddling their child and nuzzling together. The cattle lowed gently beside them.

After a while, Mary said, “That’s a lovely cradle you made.”

Joseph regarded it thoughtfully. “It will make a fine manger when we leave. The wood for it should not have been lying there, though.”

“Oh, Joseph, not everyone is as orderly as you.”

“That’s not it,” he said.

Mary looked at him quizzically.

“Were it not for the cattle, I would have thought this place abandoned,” he explained. “But that’s not it. It’s the Romans. They love to collect such boards for use in their instruments of torture and execution…”

Joseph sat up straight, suddenly alert. Someone was outside the shed. Were they to be turned away from even this place? A boy stepped into view – a shepherd, then two of his companions. Joseph was puzzled.

“Please, sir,” the first boy spoke for them all. “An angel told us the Messiah is born tonight…and that we could see him here.”

Joseph and Mary glanced at each other in surprise, then Joseph smiled and bade the shepherds enter. They knelt before Jesus, who slept contentedly in his mother’s arms.

“A most approachable king, this son of mine,” Joseph thought, surveying the scene. A bit of Scripture bubbled into his head: God’s ways are not man’s ways. This Messiah would surely startle and challenge Israel’s expectations of what God’s ways are.

IV: After the Temple

“I saw a woman stoned yesterday.”

Jesus’ voice did not startle Joseph. His son had been working with furious intensity all morning – always prelude to an outburst. The father paused to look in his son’s direction. The muscles in Jesus’ back rippled with rhythmic resolve and the shavings flew like sparks. At this rate he would finish two or three days work before the sun had set. Every board would be perfect, too. It was a continuing marvel to Joseph that his son should be both so passionate and so precise. The father resumed his carving, but kept his eyes on the son. Jesus would elaborate soon enough. It was always best to wait for him.

“I could have stopped it,” Jesus said.

“Why didn’t you?” Joseph’s voice was measured and calm.jesus-teen-joseph-carpenter-shop

“It is not my time,” Jesus replied. “Now is a time for obedience and restraint. I can master nothing until I have mastered these.”

“Even at the cost of a woman’s life?”

Jesus stiffened, his back straight now. The plane trembled in his hand, troubling the wood no longer.

“She lives,” he said softly. “The gates of heaven will open for her. But this is not what my father intends.”

“What, then,” Joseph pressed. “…that sin should continue?”

Jesus whirled around, eyes flashing. His voice was tight with suppressed fury.

“No,” he said. “That mercy should abound. All have received it from above. It will go hard for those who are miserly in giving what they, themselves, have received in abundance.”

Jesus’ anger suddenly gave way to stunned wonder. Joseph’s eyes were radiant with joy, but his lips were pressed tightly together and his cheeks were wet with tears. Wonder became alarm when Jesus saw the deep gouge in the mantle his father had been working on. Jesus had never seen him like this. He went to his father.

“I can fix that for you.”

Joseph shook himself, as if waking from a dream, and gazed at the mantle. Tilting his head in curiosity, he looked back at his son.

“How so?” he asked.

“I can make it take any shape I want.”

Joseph’s eyes narrowed. “Have you done this with your work?”

Jesus’ face flushed. He lowered his head. When he spoke, it was scarcely a whisper. “No, Father…just some sticks in the field.”

Joseph pushed up from the bench. He began to pace, stroking his beard in thought. “I see,” he said. “Why work at all then? Why not just take a stick and grow it into a house?”

The pacing stopped. Joseph looked directly at his son. Jesus regarded his father with dismay and confusion. He tried to speak, but all he could muster was a dry, choked rustle.

“I’ll tell you why,” the father resumed. “Because it is wrong. You are a man, Jesus. You did not become such to cover over shoddy work. That is a mark of lowness in a man. If you are to be lifted above that, you must always work the wood properly. No shortcuts – ever.”

Jesus’ eyes met his father’s stern, loving gaze. For a moment the son remembered having chosen Joseph from all eternity. He pushed the memory away; his father would not be pleased. Now his own eyes filled with tears. Joseph was a worthy man.

“Yes, Father,” he assented.

Joseph clasped the boy’s shoulder in the semi-embrace favored by reticent men. Father and son worked together in silence that afternoon, savoring occasionally the comfortable communion between them.

V: His Father’s Way

The Baptist was shaken to see Jesus standing before him, waist deep in the chill water of the Jordan River.

“I need to be baptized by you, and yet you come to me,” John said.

baptism-of-JesusMemories of Joseph flooded Jesus’ mind. Smiling gently, he told John, “Allow it now. It becomes us to fulfill all righteousness.”

The Baptist plunged him into the water. Rising, Jesus shook his hair and beard, then departed for the desert.

His father was well pleased.

*******

In my Father’s house are many mansions…

I go to prepare a place for you – John 14:2

63 thoughts on “Merry Christmas to All

  1. (I’ll do a repeat myself. Moving my Christmas Greeting here after just posting it under the last piece…)

    May the people who walk in darkness see Christ’s Great Light!

    May we, with trusting vulnerability, open wide our hearts to THE CHILD that His Light may overcome any darkness within us. And may we have the courage to say to the Holy Infant: “Have Your way with me, Lord, in all those places where fear lingers. I surrender all to You.”

    Merry Christmas, Friends!

    Liked by 16 people

  2. I have, just recently, “told” St Joseph that he should also be known as The Patron Saint of Those Who Get “The Bum’s Rush”. Christian scholars have struggled to/how deal with St Joseph and him being married to a beautiful young Mary and …. well … Ya Know? …soooo .. St Joe “disappeared” when Jesus was 12. This & a bunch of other stories I’m looking forward to hearing about … as Paul Harvey used to tell …. the Rest of the Story 😉

    “O HOLY NIGHT”–Josh Groban

    https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2019/12/24/gloria-in-excelsis-deo-3/

    Merry Christmas & GOD SAVE ALL HERE!!

    PS: For all you younger folks not familiar with Old Timey Terms:
    https://www.dictionary.com/browse/bum-s-rush

    Liked by 13 people

  3. Merry Christmas everyone! Christ is born! Glorify Him!

    Charlie, that cold, or influenza b, is nasty. It has taken me almost month to get over it. I will keep you in my prayers.

    Liked by 7 people

  4. MERRY CHRISTMAS CHARLIE AND EVERYONE HERE AT TNRS ASOH! !!

    Charlie, try to take coriceden chest congestion (won’t raise bp) 2 ibuprofens, and cold ease tablet ev 4 hrs. Don’t lay down too much so as to not get pneumonia. Mike n I had this too about a month ago😣 Now we will go say a prayer for you dear friend of God. Maybe antibiotic? ??xoxoxoxoxoxo TNRS ASOH

    Liked by 9 people

  5. A beautiful quote from St Maximilian Kolbe on this beautiful day:

    “By her humility, the Holy Virgin so impressed God and His Heart that He gave to her His only-begotten Son for a son. God the Son descended into her virginal womb, and God the Holy Spirit shaped in it the most holy body of the Man-God. And the Word was made flesh (Jn 1:14) as the result of the love of God and the Immaculata.”
    (KW 1296)

    Liked by 13 people

  6. Charlie, this is a beautiful and moving reflection. Thank you for posting it again.

    On top of that, the Josh Groban song/video (thanks, CD) brings tears of gratitude.

    Wishing all of you a most blessed Christmas.

    Ave Maria, Stella Maris ~
    Sister Bear

    Liked by 10 people

  7. Latest Medjugorje Message, December 25, 2019
    https://www.medjugorje.ws/

    “Dear children! I am carrying my Son Jesus to you, for Him to bless you and reveal to you His love, which comes from Heaven. Your heart yearns for peace, of which there is less and less on earth. That is why people are far from God and souls are sick and heading towards spiritual death. I am with you, little children, to lead you on this way of salvation to which God calls you. ImageThank you for having responded to my call. ”

    Liked by 8 people

    1. That’s what I love about the image of Our Lady of Tepeyac: She is carrying Jesus in her womb and bringing him to us (The Visitation).

      If I don’t have a crucifix or Divine Mercy image nearby and I wish to pray something to Jesus, I will look at Mary’s tummy on the tilma and make my petition to him there. Ah-ha! — in fact, this illustrates the relationship of those with Montfortian devotion to Jesus through Mary: Our prayers pass “through her”, if you will, to him in her womb.

      Liked by 5 people

  8. Good King Wenceslas Looked Out ….. Merry Feast of Stephen 😉

    https://www.crisismagazine.com/2019/the-nativity-of-our-lord

    https://townhall.com/columnists/victordavishanson/2019/12/24/recalling-the-battle-of-the-bulge-n2558428

    Now back to, The Usual, ;-( ….:
    https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2019/12/italys-national-soccer-team-manager-pope-francis-told-me-not-to-make-sign-of-the-cross-on-the-field-video/

    https://www.churchmilitant.com/video/episode/vortex-year-of-the-devil?mc_cid=8fbce2dea9&mc_eid=2a0b6c7ef6

    https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2019/12/salvation-army-in-kansas-city-unable-to-deliver-christmas-food-and-toys-as-fleet-of-vans-sabotaged-over-the-weekend/

    https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2019/12/vandals-destroy-christmas-decorations-across-new-jersey-neighborhood/

    https://voiceofeurope.com/2019/12/france-nativity-play-in-toulouse-attacked-by-far-left-anti-christian-mob/

    https://www.ucanews.org/news/foreigners-vacate-brunei-where-christmas-is-banned/86872

    https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/washington-secrets/4-of-10-democrats-back-gun-confiscation-reparations-open-borders-unlimited-abortions

    https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2019/12/the-new-york-times-hate-america-project.php

    https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2019/12/candace-owens-video-blexit-we-free-frontpagemagcom/

    https://townhall.com/columnists/victordavishanson/2019/12/24/recalling-the-battle-of-the-bulge-n2558428

    https://stream.org/the-10-biggest-stories-of-2019-you-didnt-hear-about/

    https://stream.org/sorry-virginia-no-santa-claus-year/

    GOD SAVE ALL HERE!!

    Liked by 8 people

    1. @Crew Dog: Thank you for your links. I’ve been introduced to some prime distillations through speakers I would not have known about except for you. One of my favorite’s recently is Victor Davis Hanson. It’s such a simple point but his reference to the difference between citizens and residents has helped to clarify the immigration controversy for me. I hope to use this simple distinction to encourage imprudent “Welcome the Stranger” enthusiasts to think more deeply into their positions.

      Liked by 5 people

        1. @For the Sake of His Sorrowful Passion: I have read and listened to so much of Hanson’s work now I can’t be sure but I do not remember reading this specific article. I believe I first heard his clarification between residency and citizenship at this Hillsdale College lecture that he gave about a week after the Townhall article you link to was published. He uses the “can’t buy ammo at Walmart nullifying the 2nd amendment” towards the end of this speech, too. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1o4BAyd7GU (Residency vs Citizenship starting at about 10:45)

          Liked by 3 people

  9. Last week the Pastor did a reflection on St. Joseph. He centered his reflection on a theory that was held by St. Thomas Aquinas and St Bernard of Clairvaux among others that Joseph believed Mary’s story. He had no doubts. He focussed in particular on the phrase in Matthew’ gospel on the nativity:

    ” … since he was a righteous man …. ”

    The righteous man was one who scrupulously adhered to and practiced the law of Moses in the form of the Ten Commandments and the written and oral commandments incorporated in the Torah and eventually codified in the Mishnah of the second century.

    We don’t have to believe this because the Catholic Church doesn’t teach this theory but it is based on a simple tekton’s living a holy, obedient life. Joseph’s reaction to his proposed role in the life of the son of God was …. “Whoa! This is above my pay grade!” I guess stunned would be a good description of his reaction. Not worthy. Not sufficiently armed or prepared for such a task. A pretty natural reaction for most men and women I’d say. Harry Truman once said that he felt like a ton of bricks had fallen upon him when informed of FDR’s death. I think we can all relate to this in our own lives.

    To be called a Righteous Man was a high honor and particular distinction in 1st Century Palestine. A distinguished thing signifying a difficult course and firm dedication. Seems a fit description for Joseph.

    ” … behold, the angel of the Lord* appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home… ”

    And Joseph summoned his courage and shouldered the task. A role model for us all.

    ” … When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home… ”

    The Birth of Jesus.*
    18
    Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph,* but before they lived together, she was found with child through the holy Spirit.

    19
    Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man,* yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly.

    20
    Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord* appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her.

    21
    She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus,* because he will save his people from their sins.”

    22
    All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:

    23
    “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son,

    and they shall name him Emmanuel,”

    which means “God is with us.”

    24
    When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home.

    Liked by 9 people

    1. I received Fr. Calloway’s book “Consecration to Saint Joseph” and intend on commencing the prayer program this upcoming First Wednesday. First Wednesday is January 1st, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.

      My Consecration date is February 2nd “Presentation of Jesus” in the Temple. Also (this year) it is Ground hog day:)

      Hopefully a turning point for our secular, immoral earth.

      Liked by 12 people

    2. Joseph was called righteous with the same kind of reverence men at that time would use for Moses or Abraham. It’s a specific word, but I can’t remember it offhand. I like the “reverence theory”, I think it makes sense. Joseph was a righteous man, I think he believed Mary and understood what was going on, therefore he would not immediately think that he was the one chosen to have the New Ark in his house. He was truly righteous and had a deep and proper fear of the Lord (the virtue, not terror). Joseph was righteous YET unwilling to expose Mary to shame . . . meaning that to his understanding, this was too great a thing for him, but he didn’t want to cause Mary pain, but how could he take the Shekinah (the power of the presence of God . . . the pillar of fire that burned Mout Sinai) under his roof? Only the High Priest had the privilege of entering the Holy of Holies once a year. I think it was also traditional to tie a rope around the guy’s foot in case he died while in there . . .then he could be removed without anyone else going in. This is not a light matter and Joseph was looking for God’s Will. The Angel reassured him not so much that Mary was telling the truth, but that it was indeed Joseph’s God-given mission to take Mary under his roof . . .” YOU are to name Him Jesus”, reassuring Joseph of God’s will in giving him authority in this case to be a husband and father. There is something missing in the translation of the angel’s address; I have read that some scholars think a better translation might be something that says “Do not be afraid to take Mary under your roof EVEN THOUGH it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived.” Once Joseph knew the will of God, he put all of his strength into fulfilling it, it was his “Yes” moment to the Lord. Anyway, Merry Christmas everyone!

      Liked by 6 people

      1. I think your are right over the target Katherine.

        I keep thinking of Rocky Balboa’s reaction when presented with the chance to fight Apollo Creed for the world heavy weight championship. He sat stunned for a moment and then said “No”. But he did it.

        Liked by 2 people

    3. Yes, Ed. He was ever-obedient. Later, he arose at the Angel’s command and took the Mother and Child into Egypt. And later still (Scripture doesn’t day how long, but it’s traditionally taken as 7 years) again at the Angel’s command, he arose and took them back to Israel (not Judea), to Nazareth: “For He shall be called a Nazarene”.

      All his life was obedience, and it can be taken (although not scriptural, but how could it not be?) that he had the holiest ever death, with Jesus and Mary. I think it’s very possible also that his most pure body was also assumed into Heaven after the Resurrection, since no physical relics have ever been known to exist? Only my thought, and certainly not original. But it would be so fitting. My favourite Saint, and a true model for men.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. I’ll tell you Jaykay that my trip to the Holy Land raised a lot of questions in my mind.

        The geography raises them. You look at where Nazareth is — where Jerusalem is — where Bethlehem is — where Ein Karem the birthplace of John the Baptist is. You go to these places and stand there and look around and wonder how they all come together. You stand at the Pools of Bethesda at the place where Mary was born and raised. You stand inside the Dormition Abbey, the biggest church in Jerusalem — Dormition meaning “sleep”. Where Mary fell “asleep”. You stand on the Mount of Olives and visit the “tomb of Mary” where the local church believes she was buried after her “dormition” and from which her body “disappeared” one day. Huge tourist attractions.

        You wonder how all this comports with the story of John taking Mary to Ephesus where she lived and died after the Resurrection. Assumed into Heaven. Pixner didn’t believe that for a second.

        The conventional appreciation doesn’t seem to work.

        Nazareth is the outlier problem. It is, or was, in the middle of Nowhere. At the time maybe 4 acres. A hamlet at best. Roughly 70 miles from Jerusalem. A 4 or 5 day walk from Jerusalem. A perfect hidey hole. A place to disappear to for awhile if you needed or wanted to disappear. The proverbial Hole in the Wall.

        Nazareth and Luke. Did Luke get it quite right?

        Luke 1
        Announcement of the Birth of Jesus.*

        26
        In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
        27
        to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary.l
        28

        Puts Mary in Nazareth prior to the Annunciation. Big Church there — Church of the Annunciation.

        Bargil Pixner attempts to resolve the contradiction of Mary’s Jerusalem origins with being in Nazareth at the time of the Annunciation. It is through the connection of Joachim, Mary’s father, and Joseph of Nazareth.

        “Being of an advanced age, he [Joachim} searched among his Davidian [Natzorean} clansmen for a husband who would guard his daughter’s virginity. Thus he found the Natzorean Joseph from the Galilean hamlet of Nazareth. According to the Protoevangelium [James] Joseph was a widower, whose wife had born him four sons and (we believe) two daughters before her untimely death. Joseph declared his willingness to take Mary as his wife AND TO PROTECT HER VOW. Mary he may have thought, could be of much help to him in raising his children who were still small. Thus the engagement came about. Perhaps Joachim had wandered with his daughter to Nazareth for this purpose.

        If we follow the Lukan version, Mary experiencedd the Annunciation during her stay in Nazareth (1:26-27). According to Matthew (1:18), and the Protoevangelium, Mary was not at Nazareth at that time
        but was occupied with her work on the Temple curtain, so she probably stayed at her home in Jerusalem to which she had returned with her father. Wherever the Annunciation event took place, it was a personal intervention of God into the story of salvation.”

        Bargil Pixner; “With Jesus in Jerusalem — His first and last days in Judea” Pp. 21-22

        Stretching for an explanation for that 70 miles. Here’s an amusing description of the problem the geography the Lukan version presents:

        https://aleteia.org/2017/01/24/biblical-travel-how-far-to-where-and-what-about-the-donkey/

        What about the donkey, indeed? Our guide in the Holy Land talked about the donkey. He said our image of the event with the donkey is pure Hollywood. If there was a donkey Mary wouldn’t have been riding it in the 1st century. Joseph would have been riding it. Mary would be walking ahead and leading the donkey pregnant and all.

        Got to say my own personal, which you can take or leave, spidey sense of it all is that Joseph may not have been from Nazareth in the beginning. Jerusalem makes more sense to me. He is well known to the community there. A teckton (master builder). A man on the move to go where the construction projects are to make his living. On the road a lot of the time. A Righteous Man. Older than Mary. Widower with children. A match for Mary and her father to both provide for her and respect her vow made to serve the Lord in the Temple and remain virgin. A vow both she and her father consented to. A vow Joseph is made aware of and is willing to protect. (Pixner’s view) In that view the Annunciation event takes place in Jerusalem at the Pools of Bethesda in the literal shadow of the northern wall of the Temple. Butt up against it. The journey to Bethlehem is not 75 miles taking perhaps a week as our amusing link reckons but maybe one morning’s journey on a donkey from the Pools of Bethesda. Makes the journey by Mary to visit Elizabeth at Ein Karem a monning’s walk as well — from one end of the modern city of Jerusalem to the other end. Modern Ein Karem is within the city boundaries of Jerusalem today.

        So where does Nazareth come into that spidey sense picture? Joseph takes Mary and Jesus to Egypt as directed by the Ange by way of Jerusalem and Bethlehem. He spends perhaps 6 years there in hiding. Herod, the murderer of the Innocents in Bethlehem, dies and the Angel tells Joseph to bring Mary and the Child back to Israel. But is it safe? Joseph knows that Archelaus, one of Herod’s three sons, now is put in control of Jerusalem by the Romans. Archelaus, if anything, is more paranoid and vicious than his father. That makes Jerusalem and the immediate environs under the maniac Archelaus a “no go zone” to keep the young child Jesus safe and secure. Where to then?

        Nazareth. The perfect Hole in the Wall hideout. Where Archelaus can’t lay his hands on the baby Jesus because that is his brother Antipas’ territory assigned to him by the Romans. Antipas who is building a new cosmopolitan capitol for traveling Romans and Greeks and Gentiles to be received in the style of a monarch for himself upon his succession to power at Sepphoris. There is work there for an industrious Teckton like Joseph. Sepphoris in Galilee is a morning’s walk from Nazareth,

        Nazareth is a Natzorean clan community where Joseph, himself a Natzorean in the direct line of David, had family. Perhaps Joseph was born there? Perhaps Joseph sent his Jerusalem family there for safekeeping upon his departure from Bethlehem. He knew Nazareth and its people. A perfect place to work and blend in quietly to raise the child Jesus.

        This kind of fits the pieces to me. The geography forces you to think about it. If you can go to the Holy Land and visit the places where Jesus walked. It makes you think.

        In any event, one cannot help but admire the man Joseph whose life was turned upside down in a blink of an eye. Like a ton of bricks had fallen on him. The Pastor called him “The man of the hour”. He manned up. He said his own “Yes” to the task presented to him.

        A role model for all of us. This is how I am meditating on the Holy Family this week.

        Liked by 3 people

  10. Ha, I’ve been at all the rehearsals…would hate to miss the real deal.

    Reminds me of an old story. The conductor let his full anger rage at the orchestra over their lack of commitment in attending rehearsals for the concert that was scheduled for just a week from that day. “Everyone here has missed at least one rehearsal, with the sole exception of our First Violinist!”

    The First Violinist stood up and said, “Well, I thought it was the least I could do, seeing as how I won’t be able to be at the performance.”

    Liked by 15 people

  11. A very Merry Christmas to everyone here and all the best to you in 2020. May God lead us down the paths He would have us follow. And oh Lord, please have mercy on our country. Please don’t let the corruptibles gain power. We need your guidance and help Lord. God Bless everyone here.

    Liked by 11 people

  12. Merry 4th Day of Christmas 😉

    https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Culture/In-time-for-Christmas-festival-of-Liturgy-opens-in-Nazareth-612025

    Prayers needed for these Christian Martyrs murdered by The Religion of Peace.
    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7828333/ISWAP-kills-11-Christian-captives-Nigeria-Christmas-Day.html

    https://www.churchmilitant.com/news/article/a-tale-of-two-christmas-messages

    https://www.churchmilitant.com/news/article/pachamama-pops-up-at-vatican-christmas-concert

    https://stream.org/here-are-the-most-extreme-pro-abortion-policies-of-2019/

    https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/gay-jesus-netflix-special-creators-suffer-molotov-cocktail-attack-n1107326

    Hundreds of accused clergy left off church’s sex abuse lists
    https://apnews.com/f6238fe6724bdf4f30a42ff7d11a327e

    Let’s see! The Left’s Trial Balloons are: Abolish single family homes. abolish police, let convicts vote and confiscate guns … all designed to destroy/intimidate The Producer Class &/or their influence.

    https://www.city-journal.org/abolish-police-call-to-action

    We most certainly need a Trump-Like, Bull in de China Shop, Truth Teller in Our Church methinks!
    https://townhall.com/columnists/tuckercarlsonandneilpatel/2019/12/27/topics-we-arent-allowed-to-talk-about-n2558586

    https://stream.org/the-evangelical-elites-vs-the-evangelical-deplorables-an-attempt-at-mediation/

    https://www.nowtheendbegins.com/former-planned-parenthood-instructor-monica-cline-admits-they-groom-children-to-have-abortions-molech/

    GOD SAVE ALL HERE!!

    Liked by 7 people

  13. Finally got to read this last night Charlie!!! Been so busy, you know, hosting dinner n all..but this story was really really good! Hope you’re 100% now, Charlie! I’m on round twould now..lol..slight fever, back of left lung hurts, sneezies, chills, but not as bad this time around…thankful to rest today and see Jesus too🤗😇😘 You keep getting well dearest friend of God🙇🙏

    Liked by 4 people

  14. Merry 6th Day of Christmas 😉

    https://stream.org/predictions-for-2020-and-beyond/

    https://townhall.com/columnists/kurtschlichter/2019/12/30/heres-what-is-whats-going-to-happen-in-2020-n2558641

    https://townhall.com/columnists/scottmorefield/2019/12/30/freedom-loving-virginians-are-fighting-back-but-will-it-be-enough-n2558653

    https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2019/12/29/parents-beware-california-public-schools-will-implement-already-proven-failed-program-to-stop-schools-from-suspending-students-with-bad-behavior/

    https://stream.org/rep-bradley-byrne-warns-atheist-group-stop-forcing-ungodly-un-american-views-down-our-throats/

    https://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/nicholas-fondacaro/2019/12/29/todd-bashes-christians-mtp-rant-against-misinformation-trump

    https://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/kristine-marsh/2019/12/29/texas-ag-destroys-medias-gun-control-narrative-cnn-more-people

    The Global Left knows that Their Agendas will not pass muster with the majority so they must lie & slander, intimidate and marginalize The Righteous Opposition (& worse in 2020?). First they targeted Tea Party Patriots, then …. Pro-Life/Family Christians, Police, Gun Owners, The Producer Class and White People in general. All the while keeping their most Radical/Ignorant Fringe Groups in a constant stage of Rage and Anger. It ain’t gonna end well ;-(

    https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2019/12/nbcs-meet-the-press-libels-the-gateway-pundit-rush-limbaugh-drudge-infowars-for-spreading-intentionally-bad-information/

    https://www.foxnews.com/food-drink/kansas-mcdonalds-coffee-cup-police

    https://townhall.com/columnists/michaelbrown/2019/12/30/no-mayor-de-blasio-president-trump-is-not-to-blame-for-the-stabbing-of-new-york-jews-n2558671

    https://www.foxnews.com/politics/giuliani-calls-swalwell-a-coward-after-congressmans-earlier-attack-on-ex-mayor

    China convicts 3 researchers involved in gene-edited babies
    https://apnews.com/7bf5ad48696d24628e49254df504e3ee

    GOD SAVE ALL HERE!!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Charlie,

    We see the political corruption more easily, but what of the healthcare corruption? Cancer is big business. I recently got a call about childhood leukemia and making a donation. I feel they are exploiting these sick children rather than curing them. Am I off base? There is a two tiered healthcare system too. I want to see that crumble!

    Like

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