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Christmas: The Carpenter’s Truth!

posted Dec 3, 2012, 3:14 AM by Anu Jain   [ updated Dec 3, 2012, 3:15 AM ]

by Hansraj Jain

Come evening and bedtime, my grandson loves me narrating stories from his ‘Book’ (Children’s ABC Book of Bible Stories), while all the time calling out “..tar, *tar, *tar”. He loves that STAR over the manger on sleeping Baby Jesus, for the 100th Time!


We love the Christmas narrative. It is one of the greatest Family Stories. It has all the drama, the suspense, the supernatural participation  and of human frailties. Unlike fictional stories, Christmas narrative is historical, true to life, and one that took place within our time and space. Fictional stories, on the other hand, are built on the imagination and ability of the authors to weave it together to current reality.


While reading the Christmas narrative a fresh perspective dawned on me. It was Joseph the father, the husband, and the man who came alive. Joseph became all the more relevant because so much of our society has been talking about Parents & Child Relationship of late. Fatherhood, it seems, has gained a diminutive image in our modern reality. It’s as if we men need to relearn how to be men again!


Joseph fits right into this slot perfectly. He makes for an excellent model for men, for fathers and for boys entering manhood!


For years now we have been hearing the Christmas narrative and it has seldom shifted away from its bias towards Mary and her baby Jesus. Joseph doesn’t protest. Men don’t protest! (?). “That’s the way it ought to be”, would be Joseph’s response. It is these kinds of attitudes that we examine in this article and to rediscover Joseph from our 21st Century eyes, and language at this 2012 Christmas celebration.


ð       JOSEPH: “The Carpenter of Royal Origin”


Joseph was a run of the mill kind of a person - very ordinary! In fact he could be any of us. By profession he was a businessman and by trade a carpenter. He was also the son of King David (Lk. 3:23,32).


He had done well as Carpenter Businessman and had now seriously begun to explore marriage and to start his own family.


As he began to search for possibilities, he had found Mary and proposed. Mary was over the moon to be asked and had readily accept his proposal. She felt proud and blessed to be Joseph’s fiancé and romantically looked forward to the D-Day when Marriage would happen to this wonderful godly man. Who wouldn’t?




A few weeks after their engagement Joseph heard whispers float about Mary.  The floaters rumored that Mary his Fiancé was pregnant. The gossip had made him feel angry, agitated, and shamed. He refused to believe these rumors. He had to clarify. He decided that he would speak directly to Mary on the issue.


That’s the kind of person Joseph was – straightforward, no beating about the bush, practical, daring, but mature, courageous sensible, courteously sensitive, and decisive.


So when Mary confirmed her pregnancy, Joseph found it hard to stay standing. He sat down. His thoughts were in a whirl and chaotic. He thought hard and prayed even harder for wisdom and for an appropriate response to Mary.

To confess the truth, Joseph had not anticipated Mary to be candid, bold and straightforward. He expected her to hedge about the issue. So, Mary’s attitude had left him confused. On top of it all she had insinuated that the child in her was ‘God-originate’. Although Mary did not look or sound loony, her religious angle on the issue was way off radar Joseph felt.

“Insane!” Joseph had told Mary. “Be careful of what you insinuate”, he had warned. But she had insisted that it was the truth.

The encounter with Mary went off worse than was anticipated. Neither had felt any better for it. In fact the entire face-off had left him feeling angry, and shattered. The worse fact was that Mary and he were not in a ‘live-in’ relationship either. So the child wasn’t even his. Mary was mad. “Who ever had heard that God was making virgins pregnant so that He could accomplish His purposes for the human race? Joseph had reasoned and argued within himself.


Emotionally, Joseph felt sad, cheated and a fool. It depressed him. ‘Perhaps Marriage just isn’t for me,’ Joseph even wondered.

The entire situation felt surreal. “I just cannot believe Mary to ever do such a thing. I just don’t believe she is rotten”, Joseph kept telling himself. “There has to be another angle to this. But God? That’s going too far!” Joseph told himself.


In all of this Joseph had not lost his cool. Of course he understood the consequences of breaking the engagement- the girl’s life would be gravely endangered…she might even be stoned to death, he feared.


On the other hand his wounded feelings demanded: “Break the engagement! Destroy her! She deserves no mercy. Make her an example for other girls.” Joseph fought the urge. He still wanted to give Mary a chance. He suggested that in a moment of thoughtlessness and pressure Mary had became susceptible to temptation. “Who doesn’t? I can’t endanger her life and the life of the child within her for this. But then I cannot marry her either. Yet, I must save her life. I know what I would do, divorce her quietly! Let her parents and relatives decide what they would do with her. She is no more my responsibility”. That was the best way forward in all of this. Joseph convinced himself and made the decision.


With those thoughts Joseph headed on home.




Mental health experts tell us that the experience of a traumatic event can invade our dreams. Sometimes unresolved issues get resolved this way.


Did that happen to Joseph?


Joseph went to bed disturbed to his core. He would end his engagement quietly, he had decided. Yet, while he slept his dream was invaded with a diametrically opposite solution. The arguments he had used, the faithlessness he demonstrated at Mary’s claim for pregnancy, were all refuted. In fact, he was invited to participate in this amazing event that God was unfolding all around him.


So, when Joseph woke up the next morning with his mind made up, he walked over to Mary’s place and declared that he was marrying Mary.


Did Mary smile and nod or was she baffled? Was Joseph’s decision to marry Mary a reaction or supernatural intervention? So, what happened that brought about such a radical change in Joseph? How did confusion, chaos turn into celebration?



Arise Lead the Celebration!


Reflecting on all that had been happening in his life of late, Joseph knew that God of his fathers was about to revisit His people. That was reason enough to celebrate.

As a son of King David by lineage, Joseph felt privileged to be the father to God’s own Son. He confirmed his perception and his decision that to marry Mary was the decision to make. Together Mary and he will fulfill God’s plan of salvation for Israel.



Joseph, a quiet but a daring, decisive, and a resolute person had inherited a discerning mind, a perceptive heart and a deeply god-fearing soul. He was so much like David of old.

Like David, Joseph too did not shy away from life-threatening challenges but confronted them, worked hard to provide safety, security, and a safe-haven for Mary and her baby while all the time remaining finely tuned to God, listening and obeying.


Joseph by conduct, courage and character proved what a true royalty is all about – even as a “mere carpenter”!


The challenge for us modern men is to evaluate ourselves against this carpenter’s stature and ask, are we equal to him? God still calls the ordinary to do the extra ordinary with HIM! That’s our reason for CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION!!!