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Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Carpenter's Hammer

You have to give it to this guy. I don’t know how he does it. I mean there are plenty of carpenters that work to support a family. It’s not that. It’s his calm acceptance … an assurance that every thing is as it should be. He’s good at his work but it’s his ethic that impresses me.

How many people could find out their wife to be was pregnant knowing it can’t be theirs and hold fast to their commitment? What force, what strength of character can instill the kindness and diligence to carry this woman, burdened with child, to Bethlehem for the census? Born in a manger because there was no room at the inn.

Yet he smiles and perseveres. Sometimes when he’s weary, he’ll smash his finger or cut himself but he doesn’t complain. I can feel the sweat mingle with blood and I listen for the cry that never comes.

He’s worried now. The boy has been gone all day and it’s not like him to stay too long. He wants to go looking for him. He has raised this child with love and tolerance so he knows in his heart that the boy is ok wherever he might be. He has known all along that he’s only a steward. This boy is truly God’s child.

Everyone has doted on Mary; as well they should, yet he has stood quietly with his calloused hands guiding her … holding her up. He has provided and taught, always setting an example of quiet fortitude and undying faith for this son.

Sometimes I wonder if they even see him here as he labors in the unbearable heat and biting cold. Do they hear the prayers he whispers to the Father in solitude? Do they ever consider the doubt he must have felt?

This child is a miracle, destined for greatness of a different kind. I wish they could see his father here, in the dirt, more clearly as he strives to live up to his commission. I would only be a lowly hammer, yet in the hands of this man I am more. I am a living instrument of his labor. I am his tool for the building of the future.

I am Joseph’s hammer and for that I am grateful. I can only wish him all the peace of a father’s love. One thing I know for certain. He has earned it.

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