Author: Joan Harman
January 07, 2022

One devotional book I've been reading over the Christmas Days is a biography of Joseph, the earthly father of the Son of God, the one chosen to guard, mentor, instruct, and love enough to let Jesus go out to serve as Emmanuel, God with Us.

2021 was designated the year of St. Joseph by the Roman Catholic Church, and that’s how I came to be the recycling recipient of this book.  It was a gift from my son after his men's group finished their study.

Please think kindly of this UMC writer who is trying to summarize an intriguing theology, not of my own denomination.  Perhaps we can puzzle together through this.  I will certainly appreciate any thoughts, disagreements, questions regarding this summary to go along with my own thoughts, disagreements, questions.  Since the book has a legitimately long list of resources in the historical records of the time, I accept the scholarship of the author.

The book shows the enormous contrast between Herod the Great, backed by the full force of the Roman Empire, and the village carpenter and his family.  One little interesting tidbit I'd never read anywhere before was that this Herod was incredibly gifted architecturally.  Yes, I knew it was a building hey-day during his reign, but that was always mentioned in the context of how he used the buildings to elevate himself and as a show of his power. 

Point well made.   Joseph was a carpenter, so there would always be enough work in the cities within walking distance of his home village.  In the culture of his time and place, a father was expected to train and teach his son(s) in the trade.  This author pointed out that the Hebrew people were the only ones who valued good crafters and trade people as important in the culture.
Greeks didn't allow them to vote, Romans used serfs and slaves for this critical work, for only the Roman born were worthy of the literary, government, education, and legal brain professions.  I guess by inference, building beautiful furniture and structures was not regarded as requiring brain power?

The Roman Catholics I know feel that every child has a guardian angel.  After childhood, the unanimity of thought disperses, but the author of this book described how Joseph was the only guardian angel that Jesus needed, for Joseph performed all the tasks of any rank of angels:
messenger, when he delivered reassurances to Mary after his first angelic dream;

guide and guardian, after the angelic dream visitor told him to flee to Egypt with the child and his mother to escape Herod's wrath;

resisting the evil (Herod)as the archangel Michael defeated evil;

protecting and supporting the King of Kings, like the principalities....  These angels protected and supported rulers.

Thrones and dominions uphold and regulate the true spirits and represent agents of God's will.  As a baby, Jesus was no doubt cradled by Joseph, as a child disciplined and taught by him, and as a 12 year old ushered into his religious manhood, Joseph encouraged and transferred agency to Jesus as Jesus developed the clear understanding of his divine heirship.

Cherubim flanked the ark of the covenant in the Exodus and early nationhood of Israel, as Mary and Joseph flanked Jesus.

Seraphim appears only once in our canon, Isaiah 6, but the Hebrew translation for this word is "fiery ones", so the author extrapolates that along with Joseph, we believers can be on fire with the spirit, bringing light and bearing suffering along with Jesus.

Blessings for 2022, Joan K. Harman  <><<><

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