Joseph’s Heart

 

Joseph, how’s your heart?
How do you perceive
the son of God
your Mary’s conceived?
What kind of man are you
who refused to send her away?

Joseph, we don’t know much about you,
do we?
We know when you discovered
Mary was with child
you refused to publicly shame,
but rather decided to divorce her in private.

Then came the dream…
and the angel.

Perhaps an ordinary man would consider
the angelic visitation
a fanciful imagining,
or indigestion…
but you didn’t.

You took Mary and the miracle
and made them your family.
God couldn’t have chosen you lightly.
What was it about your heart?

What was it about your heart,
simple carpenter from Nazareth?
Stepfather to Jesus,
chosen to protect and care for our Lord.

God picked you, Joseph
to be
the most important dad
in history,
a man who played a vital part…
God knew your heart.

Joseph, with the rising of the sun
See this baby who is and isn’t your son.
The angel said, “Don’t be afraid…”
Did you think, “that’s easy for an angel to say”?
So here you are, with your unique family
and no decent place to stay.
How is your heart?

Did you wonder, “How could God choose me?”
Could you feel the weight of history?
Or, like any father, in an unexpected place,
did you wall off your fears,
put on a brave face
and slow your pounding heart?

Did you wonder, why wasn’t he born in a castle,
with servants for every need?
Why would the Holy Spirit
pick out a simple man like me
for this special baby and Mary?

Questions upon questions made you dizzy,
Why are these shepherds visiting?
What am I to do?
God, answer my heart.
Help me see.

Then later, when it was time for the circumcision,
you and Mary marvelled at the words of Simeon.
We suppose you must have been both frightened and proud.

Then, your heart’s strength is tested
while on the run to Egypt.

If your hair wasn’t already gray by this time,
it must have turned so when Jesus disappeared
at the age of twelve, for three days, following the festival.
In the blink of an eye, you see your child becoming a man
when you and Mary discover him
in the midst of the temple teachers.

There is a long period of your son’s life
We know almost nothing about, Joseph.
Though he was not of you, certainly much of you
was invested in our Lord
Joseph, you were a special man.
You raised Jesus,
but didn’t live to see the moment
he fulfilled God’s rescue plan.

We relate to you Joseph
because we often don’t see
the conclusion of stories
which begin as dreams.
God chose you for a special part,
but first, he made your heart.

©Joel Tipple
#10/16

 

 

 

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Christmas Sails

Christmas sails on,
another season blows through,
at breakneck speed
we rush
into and out of it.
We gather ourselves,
brush off bits of wrapping paper
and fir needles,
then begin the focus
on rest and recovery
until the next one.
Always an opportunity for growth,
and trying to focus on Jesus the most.
It seems with humans nothing is worth doing
unless it’s overdone.
But still, amid the fun,
God, we remembered Your Son…
was the reason.

© Joel Tipple
379

I Believe

I believe in Christmas hearts,
in the passion of Christmas dreams.
I believe in the full measure of
what Christmas really means.

I believe the best giving
comes from sacrifice,
like that of a soldier posted in a desolate land
or the burden that is carried by a soldier’s husband or wife.

I believe in remembering those who have gone before,
the ones who determined to do without
in order that we have more.

I believe in feeding the hungry
and spreading Christmas hope.
I believe peppermint
should be the official Christmas soap.

I believe Christmas breakfast
should include little egg cups
wrapped with slices of ham.
I believe in Christmas muffins
with a spread of Christmas jam.

I believe in Christmas cats
who, too early, take down the Christmas tree,
just because an ornament was calling,
with its light so sparkling.

I believe in Christmas Eve,
and morning,
and night too,
when the Christmas house, exhausted,
gets ready for a New Year’s view.

I believe in Jesus,
the One who started it all,
Who loves us when we live big,
but calls us to be more
when we choose to live small.

I believe better tomorrows
are made out of better todays
and spreading love and compassion
because it’s the Christmas way.

© Joel Tipple
378

Afraid of Christmas?

Should we be afraid of Christmas?
Or should Christmas be afraid of us?
So many are afraid of lawsuits and such,
yet it’s hard to reconcile the fuss.
Don’t say Merry Christmas when you talk to customers in your store.
Don’t put the Nativity here.
Is that a bible verse on government stationary?
I don’t think you can pray there.

But the most diabolical attack Christmas ever suffered
began when we made it about gifts.
When we created a decadent cocktail of love and money and celebration,
that’s when the whole thing went over a cliff.
But the commercialization of Christmas is a sad story we know all too well.
The broader scope of the attack on Christians is another story to tell.
Christ and Christ followers will survive Madison Avenue,
and government prohibitions too.
Relegating reverence of Jesus Christ to a particular place or season
isn’t enough anyway, I think. What about you?

© Joel Tipple
368

Don’t Make it Silent

All the earth stood still
that night he arrived
for the Savior of the world
with His family in flight.
But I imagine he cried,
so not for long
was it a silent night.

Children all around the world tonight
are also with their families in flight.
Running from war and famine and fright.
As we celebrate Jesus’ birth,
the light
we’ve received
is responsible sight.
Speak up for the children.
Don’t let them be denied.
With your prayer and hands and feet
and voice
please fight.
Please don’t be
silent tonight.

© Joel Tipple
358