God Among Us: Opening Heart and Hands

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…an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “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. 21 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.” 24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.
Matthew 1:20-22,24

 

I see the hands of Joseph.
Back and forth along bare wood they move.
There is worry in those working hands,
sorting out confusing thoughts with every stroke.
“How can this be, my beautiful Mary now with child?” 
Rough with deep splinters, these hands,
small, painful splinters like tiny crosses
embedded deeply in this choice to stay with her.
He could have closed his hands to her,
said, “No” and let her go to stoning.
But, dear Joseph opened both his heart and hands
to this mother and her child.
Preparing in these days before
with working hands
and wood pressed tight between them.
It is these rough hands that will open
and be the first to hold the Child.
~Catherine Alder from “Advent Hands”

_______________________________

In these weeks of Advent waiting,
we are stretched beyond what we ever thought possible:
to change our plans to God’s plan,
to accept what is unacceptable,
to include the excluded,
to grasp understanding of the incomprehensible,
to open closed heart and hands
and let the Christ Child in
so we can hold Him as Joseph did that night.
If Joseph could do it,
despite all he’d been taught,
despite the derision–
if he could still trust,
and obey,
and believe,
how can we not?
~EPG

 

Go to sleep my Son
This manger for your bed
You have a long road before You
Rest Your little head

Can You feel the weight of Your glory?
Do You understand the price?
Or does the Father guard Your heart for now
So You can sleep tonight?

Go to sleep my Son
Go and chase Your dreams
This world can wait for one more moment
Go and sleep in peace

I believe the glory of Heaven
Is lying in my arms tonight
Lord, I ask that He for just this moment
Simply be my child

Go to sleep my Son
Baby, close Your eyes
Soon enough You’ll save the day
But for now, dear Child of mine
Oh my Jesus, Sleep tight

He was her man, she was his wife
And late one winter night
He knelt by her
As she gave birth
But it wasn’t his child,
It wasn’t his child

Yet still he took him as his own
And as he watched him grow
It brought him joy
But it wasn’t his child
It wasn’t his child

But like a father he was strong and kind
And I believe he did his best
It wasn’t easy for him
But he did all could
His son was different from the rest
It wasn’t his child
It wasn’t his child

And when the boy became a man
He took his father’s hand
And soon the world
Would all know why
It wasn’t his child
It wasn’t his child

But like a father he was strong and kind
And I believe he did his best
It wasn’t easy for him
But he did all could
He grew up with his hands in wood
And he died with his hands in wood
He was God’s child,
He was God’s child

He was her man
She was his wife
And late one night
He knelt by her
As she gave birth
But it wasn’t his child
It was God’s child

 

How could it be
This baby in my arms,
Sleeping now, so peacefully?
“The Son of God,” the angel said,
How could it be?

Lord I know, He’s not my own
Not of my flesh, not of my bone.
Still Father let this baby be
The son of my love.

Chorus
Father show me where I fit into this plan of Yours,
How can a man be father to the Son of God?
Lord, for all my life I’ve been a simple carpenter,
How can I raise a King, How can I raise a King?

He looks so small, His face and hands so fair,
And when He cries the sun just seems to disappear.
But when He laughs, it shines again,
How could it be?
~Michael Card

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6 thoughts on “God Among Us: Opening Heart and Hands

  1. Love your blog, look forward to reading it every morning with my devotions. I thank God for the gifts He has given you to write to touch our hearts.

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  2. Thank you, thank you, Emily for your emphasis on St. Joseph in today’s post.

    I have always thought that Joseph’s place in the Incarnation mystery – the Christmas Story – and even prior to that event, seemed to be given short shrift. He is pictured as just ‘being there.’ And yet, in practical terms, his presence, his fealty and his obedience to what God had asked of him prior to and including his marriage to Mary, his steadfast protection of her and of his infant foster son were crucial. We learn very little of him as the evangelists’ accounts of Jesus’ youth and early manhood are told. Joseph just seems to disappear – his purpose fulfilled.
    One is left to assume that he died. But I’ve always wanted to know more.

    However, the sparse knowledge of Joseph that we have been given in Scripture has resulted in a beautiful image of the true meaning of marriage between a man and a woman and
    especially the vocation of fatherhood as I think our Creator intended it to be.

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  3. Dear Emily. Thank you so much for your daily advent posts. I look forward every day to be filled with such spiritual nourishment. I love this time of the year. And I see the heavenly angels gathering, watching us on earth as we prepare to celebrate our Lord’s birth. The anticipation growing, as more and more angels come together, watching….and then I realize, that’s how they gather to welcome us when we pass to the other side! So bright! So much love! Thank you again. May God bless you and yours! Laura

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  4. Yes, Alice, I feel like I identify with Joseph as he had every opportunity to walk away from what could only be called a “complicated” situation, yet he did not. He was there for Mary, there for his adopted son, and there for the Father who adopted him. What a blessed man who blessed the world on behalf of us all. thank you, Alice! Emily

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