Today we look at what happens in ‘The Christmas Story’ from the perspective of Joseph. Joseph is ‘a practical man’ who makes things (a carpenter) – unlike those who work in the ‘learned’ sector, he finds true satisfaction in getting something ‘done’ and there being no question that it is ‘done’. This does not stop him dreaming, however (named after ‘the most famous dreamer in history’)…
He speaks of the joy of meeting Mary, so full of hope, expectation and zest, who re-awoke his dreaming in the full. He describes this not as love in the sense that many would think of it, but of love as the ‘accumulation of shared memories… the weaving together of separate stories into this story’, maturing slowly amongst commitment and ‘determined choosing’ (not so much the words we hear about with ‘romantic love’.
We see the tough, real emotions, the doubts that fill his mind as he looks at the pregnant Mary, and thinks of the times that others call him a fool … but, as a deeply religious man, a dream from God has given him the confidence to stand by her, and once the decision was made, he got on with things. He loves the Mary that is not a weak woman but ‘a force of joy and energy and life’, although he wonders that God could not have chosen someone better prepared.
Familiar with a wide range of trees/woods, Joseph finds it hard to see the bigger picture, but knows that the sturdy trees started out as but a seed. Unlike the trees, we long to be someone or something else…
Idolatry was always our greatest failing – making God out of wood, rather than seeing God in the wood itself.
Cottrell finishes, putting thoughts into Joseph’s mind as to what the future will be for this baby? Will it bring something refreshing, or will he be a barren tree on a lonely hill?
And the piece I liked from Brian Draper today:
Try to notice the times when you are seeking to impress others, today. Stop and ask yourself, how can I act differently, lovingly – in order to give something, instead of trying to get something, out of the situation.
Always gracefully challenging us!
Dr Bex Lewis is passionate about helping people engage with the digital world in a positive way, where she has more than 20 years’ experience. She is Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University and Visiting Research Fellow at St John’s College, Durham University, with a particular interest in digital culture, persuasion and attitudinal change, especially how this affects the third sector, including faith organisations, and, after her breast cancer diagnosis in 2017, has started to research social media and cancer. Trained as a mass communications historian, she has written the original history of the poster Keep Calm and Carry On: The Truth Behind the Poster (Imperial War Museum, 2017), drawing upon her PhD research. She is Director of social media consultancy Digital Fingerprint, and author of Raising Children in a Digital Age: Enjoying the Best, Avoiding the Worst (Lion Hudson, 2014) as well as a number of book chapters, and regularly judges digital awards. She has a strong media presence, with her expertise featured in a wide range of publications and programmes, including national, international and specialist TV, radio and press, and can be found all over social media, typically as @drbexl.