Remember The Wrapping

At our house some Christmas events are the same each year. Among them is my wife Martie’s appeal to the kids and grandkids as they attack their gifts: “Save the paper, we can use it next year!” Martie loves to give nice gifts, but she also appreciates the wrapping. Presentation is part of the beauty of the gift.

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Just The Right Time

The conductor stood on the podium, his eyes scanning the choir and orchestra. The singers arranged the music in their folders, found a comfortable position for standing, and held the folder where they could see the conductor just over the top. Orchestra members positioned their music on the stand, found a comfortable position in their seats, and then sat still. The conductor waited and watched until everyone was ready. Then, with a downbeat of his baton, the sounds of Handel’s “Overture to Messiah” filled the cathedral.

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In Jesus’ Name

One of my favorite collections of photos is of a family dinner. Preserved in an album are images of Dad, his sons and their wives, and his grandchildren in a time of thanks-giving and intercession.

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The Heart Of Christmas

Charles Dickens’ novel A Christmas Carol was released on December 19, 1843, and has never been out of print. It tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a wealthy, sour, stingy man who says, “Every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas,’ on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding!” Yet, one Christmas Eve, Scrooge is radically changed into a generous and happy man. With great humor and insight, Dickens’ book captures the universal longing for inner peace.

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My Friends And I

John Chrysostom (347–407), archbishop of Constantinople, said this about friendship: “Such is friendship, that through it we love places and seasons; for as . . . flowers drop their sweet leaves on the ground around them, so friends impart favor even to the places where they dwell.”

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A Work In Progress

Pablo Casals was considered to be the preeminent cellist of the first half of the 20th century. When he was still playing his cello in the middle of his tenth decade of life, a young reporter asked, “Mr. Casals, you are 95 years old and the greatest cellist that ever lived. Why do you still practice 6 hours a day?”

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A Ukrainian Christmas

The people of Ukraine include many wonderful elements in their observance of Christmas. Sometimes wisps of hay are placed on the dinner table as a reminder of the Bethlehem manger. Another portion of their celebration echoes the events of the night when the Savior entered the world. A Christmas prayer is offered and then the father in the household offers the greeting, “Christ is born!” The family then responds, “Let us glorify Him!”

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Story Stewards

Many people take great care to make sure their resources are used well after they die. They set up trusts, write wills, and establish foundations to guarantee that their assets will continue to be used for a good purpose after their life on earth is done. We call this good stewardship.

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A Special Birth

In the pages of Scripture, several baby-boy births stand out. Cain, the firstborn after creation. Isaac, the hope of Israel’s future. Samuel, the answer to a mother’s fervent prayer. All extremely important. All joyously expected. And all described exactly the same by the chroniclers of Scripture: In each case, we are told that the mother conceived and bore a son (Gen. 4:1; 21:2-3; 1 Sam. 1:20).

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Another Hero Of Christmas

For most of my life, I missed the importance of Joseph in the Christmas story. But after I became a husband and father myself, I had a greater appreciation for Joseph’s tender character. Even before he knew how Mary had become pregnant, he decided that he wasn’t going to embarrass or punish her for what seemed to be infidelity (Matt. 1:19).

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44 thoughts on “Another Hero Of Christmas

  1. parkerjoa2robert says:

    What a wonderful devotional on Joseph! I am so happy that we can think of Joseph as one of the Bible Heroes. He is a magnificent example of what a husband, Male Spiritual leader of the home, Protector, Provider, and step-father should be. I love Christmas in that it kind of puts what I call a spot light on the Holy Family, but we should see the Holy Family as an example all the rest of the year as well. What a wonderful man Joseph was, more men should be like him. Scripture does not say much about Joseph but we do know that he loved God so very much. He was obedient in that he took Mary as his wife when in those days he did not have to. He loved Jesus so much that he protected, provided for, worried about, taught him his trade, and loved him dearly.

    In today’s time, the family is made up of different structures and patterns but putting God first can only bring many blessings. I pray that all families be this faithful and obedient to God, just as Joseph and Mary were.

  2. bubbles says:

    We can speculate but if we go by what is recorded by God about Joseph, every time he’s written about, it shows Joseph obeying what God tells him to do, or doing according to the law.

    1. eternallyhis says:

      AMEN to that Bubbles
      God’s blessings to you

    2. Rocky says:


      I agree with you, I never meant to imply that Joseph was disobedient, I was simply stating that in my ignorance knowing that Jesus’s life was not a perfect one by any sense of the imagination, Scripture doesn’t tell us what happen to Joseph.

      From Genesis to Revelation we read of every important and non important person that is born and when they die, Joseph is the only one that is never mentioned, I find that interesting. He’s an important figure, at least I want to believe that he was.

      1. bubbles says:

        Oh dear. I’m so sorry. I wrote that after I read all of the comments. I was in no way trying to dispute anything anyone said. I am so sorry. I was only sharing what I learned a couple of years ago.

        1. bubbles says:

          There are some devotional books that do a character study of people like Ruth, Esther, and Mary. I did each of them. They were all a blessing and Mary was the last one I did. What I shared about Joseph was something I learned when I did that month long study. I was inept at communicating that and I was not trying to be contentious or disagree with what anyone posted. I am sorry for wording the previous posts awkwardly. They were good studies and a blessing that taught me many things. I am sorry.

          1. Rocky says:

            Thank you bubbles, I’m not accusing you of wrong doing, I just want to always be humble enough to be held accountable if I have hurt or offended anyone, you have said or done nothing wrong.

            Thank you for your tender spirit.

          2. bubbles says:

            I did not want you to feel as though I was attacking your post.

  3. praise the lord says:

    Hi bsbuster,

    I was glad to see your post. But when I saw it was under my post I was feeling ouch.
    Your questions: Why did He allow satan to do what he did? Was it for fun?

    God was not doing it for fun I am sure of that.
    Well from personal experience I feel that I drift from God when everything is going well.
    When life gets tough, it is a true test of what do I really believe. As people when we are tested, we either draw closer to God or turn away. What Jesus went through was no joke or laughing matter. It changed the history of mankind. Job was changed through his experience. Job was trusting God because of what others had taught him but through his trials he now knew God personally. We all need to come to a personal relationship and realize how awesome and powerful He is.
    Am I making any sense bsbuster?

    God bless you.

    1. eternallyhis says:


      I have also been meaning to respond to your post about Job, and am ashamed not to have done so before this. I’m thankful praise the lord noticed and answered you, as it was an excellent question that I had never thought about until you asked it.
      Thank you praise the lord, for bringing this to my attention again, as I did some prayerful research and what you wrote is so true, but I would add a little more to it.
      In my research, I found Job and Joseph had a lot in common, both of them upright and striving to please God, and yet God allowed both of them to go through great suffering. Joseph was sold into slavery and suffered in many ways, yet he continued to have faith in God, as did Job.
      If God had not allowed Joseph to go through all that He did, Joseph would not have ended up in a position where he could save Many lives, including the lives of his brothers that had tried to get rid of him.
      As for Job, I would guess many millions of people have been helped and encouraged in the Lord, by considering the suffering of Job and his patience and great faith as he waited on the Lord for answers and help.
      I see this in line with what is written in 2Corinthians 1:2-7 where I see our suffering is not without good cause, but can be and should be used as a means of understanding and comforting others who might be going through the same (note vs 4). Because when people know we have gone through similar suffering, they can better believe that we really do understand, and therefore they are more apt to listen and respond as we point them to Christ for help and healing, etc.
      As for Job, very few of us have ever come close to such suffering as he experienced, and looking to his example, we too should stand in faith as he did, and trust God will bring us out rejoicing in due time, as He did Job.
      God chose Joseph to save many lives and it seems He chose Job for the same reason. How precious both of them must be in the eyes of our Lord God. In this, perhaps it will help us to take comfort and even joy in our own sufferings, if through our sufferings others will gain in Christ. He is a beautiful Lord. Amen

  4. praise the lord says:

    Hi ghudd,
    Your response to the December Called by His name was excellent and it is a shame that you do not share more often what is on your heart.
    Your short statements are excellent also.
    In the bible it is a fact that loving God is equated with obeying His Word.
    Our life is a book, how do others read us. We are the only bible most of the people in our world will ever read. We can do three things with time, since we all have the same amount . We can spend it waste it, or invest it. May we be found doing as the Master was. In thought word and deed.

    The book of Romans tells us why no man has an excuse for rejecting the true God of the bible. He has left His fingerprints and footprints all over His creation. A person has to purposelessly be blind to them.

    I look forward to what you share from your heart about God. Thank you. Love you ghudd

  5. Rocky says:

    I had a better understanding of Joseph when I became a stepchild and later became a stepfather.

    To love someone who is not biologically yours is never as easy as loving someone who is.

    This is why I believe that Jesus did not have it easy here on earth, He was born in a stable & crucified on a cross do we really believe that everything in between His birth and Death was peaches and cream?

    I personally tried to love my stepson as my own, but I need to be honest, when he stepped out of line Initially I was not as tender or compassionate as I would have been with my own kids, I almost expected more from this child. And remembering my stepfather wanting to force us into submission.

    So to say that Jesus had this perfect relationship with His stepfather, I have a tough time believing that. Part of me even wants to go as far as saying that I think ultimately Joseph left, because he is never mentioned again, his death is not even mentioned, he wasn’t even mentioned at the Crucifixion of Jesus, and Jesus looked down at John and instructed John to take care of His mother, Where was Joseph? I really don’t know what happened to Joseph, but I can only speculate.

    But I have a tough time believing that as a King who was born in a stable then dies this horrific death, lived this perfect life, especially if He experienced everything we will experience.

    Am I implying that Joseph was not a man of honor, not at all, I’m saying that perhaps he was just like many of us, who has ever tried to raise a stepchild, where it appears that mothers seem to be more protective and stepfathers appear to be harsher, similarly the same goes for stepmothers and fathers, I really believe that there might have been a lot of tension in the home.

    1. 1ofhisown says:

      Please log into Fish eaters & read Nativity of Mary by St.John of Damascene & Protevangelium of St.Jerome.

      1. Rocky says:


        I went to that site & read the passage nothing in particular stood out, what exactly was it that you wanted to show me?

    2. eternallyhis says:

      Hi Rocky,

      I should have commented on your post before commenting on Bubbles. But, hers was easy to simply agree with what she wrote, whereas, I knew yours would take some time.
      I agree with you that Jesus’ life was definitely far from being easy. Just considering life in those days, hardships in travel and all else involved in daily living, must have been far more difficult than most people today have to experience.
      As for stepchildren, in my own experience, being totally honest, I too have had a deeper bond with my own than with my stepchildren. No doubt it is because I felt far more possessive and responsible for my own. My own were with me 24/7, whereas my stepchildren only on weekends, holidays and part of summer breaks. However, I can also say in all honesty that I treated my stepchildren better than my own, because of wanting to give them assurance that I loved them too. Since then, I have felt guilty for doing so, knowing I should have treated my own with the same carefulness. In my defense, it is easier doing something part time than it is full time. I know I did a lot of things wrong in ways of teaching and raising my own as well as my stepchildren, but I did my best, according to the grace and insight God gave me. God definitely taught me a lot about children and through children, and when I consider Jesus and the wealth of knowledge He had, I’m sure He knew how to share that knowledge with Mary and Joseph without offending them. I say that because my hubby sometimes got rather offended when his stepson,(my oldest)would try sharing his knowledge on certain things, sometimes (without meaning to) would make my hubby feel like stepson thought step-dad was ignorant.

      As for Joseph, you are right about his name not appearing when Jesus was on the Cross, which some believe it is because Joseph must have died, and this makes more sense than to think he abandoned his wife and son in that terrible hour. Because Joseph had been so obedient to God and shown so much love and protection of Jesus and Mary, rising up in the night to take them to Egypt where they remained until after the death of Herod the king (Matthew 2:13-15).
      Joseph is also mentioned as being with Mary to take Jesus to the temple where Simeon blessed the baby (Luke 2:27,33,34).
      The last time I see Joseph mentioned is when Jesus was about 12 yrs. of age (Luke 2: 40-42) and Jesus hung back, going into the temple when His family was journeying with others to Jerusalem (vs.41-48) Joseph was mentioned with Mary in verse 43. And is referred to in the following scriptures telling of this account, when referred to as them, or they in reference to Mary and Joseph, through to the end of that chapter.
      Anyhow, Bubbles is right in the fact that according to scripture, Joseph obeyed all that God instructed him to do. And because he showed much concern and protection over Jesus, and Joseph knowing Jesus was truly the Messiah, the Holy Child of God, how could he help but feel honored and blessed to have such a noble calling of God upon him, and do his very best to treat his adoptive son with honor and love? And knowing Jesus as we do, how much more did Joseph know Him and must have loved Him?
      As for tension in the home, no doubt there was, but not for a lack of love, etc. but due to Jesus being far different than other children His age, as He was looking to and obeying His heavenly Father, and the supernatural is always a bit frightening, due to our inability to ‘figure it out,’ or understand with our natural senses.
      I hope you don’t mind the length of this, and I hope you don’t mind if I get back to what I was writing to you on the baptism in the Spirit.
      God’s best to you and yours always Rocky. In His love, I am your sister Viv

  6. bondserve says:

    With over fifty years of reading good Christian devotionals and study materials, it is always a great blessing when a writer brings out a new thought from scripture that I’ve not yet pondered. This morning I am struck by the holy demands placed upon Joseph and Mary’s life in raising the Christ child, the Savior of the world. If I were in Joseph’s place I’d have been nervous and possibly afraid of failing the Lord. It certainly was a great honor, yet an even greater responsibility. It would be very interesting to know more about Jesus’ childhood than what the bible tells us. There are many extra-biblical and unsubstantiated folk tales from the first and second centuries, but most appear to be overly embellished. But one thing is certain: In God’s wisdom He chose Jesus’ earthly parents well. After reading and thinking on this devotion, my own responsibilities for today, which before had appeared so monumental and overwhelming, have shrunken in size and weight.

  7. jpon58 says:

    I’m not saying I’m Mary or to be equal to Mary. The child I’m adopting is a child if a friend. My comment was for us to take heed to the call of God for ‘obedience is better than sacrifice’. Yes!!!! I’m full aware that having a child without husband is not upright. We also have to remember on this that God use who he pleases. We all must be willing vessels.

    1. josy says:

      It is good to know that we can learn from each other, whether to agree or not to agree with comments. It reminds me of descriptions of the old synagogues when someone spoke the Word and then it was discussed infinitely after that. Certain readers have expressed thanks for comments I thought were windy, so obviously comments have their particular audience. Having said that, I have often refrained from adding my comments when they would not really add to the conversation; I often write and delete rather than posting my comments.

    2. josy says:

      This is a very nice thing you are doing. It does take a lot of obedience. And since it’s from God, I know that you will get the support you need. I pray that you hang in there in the tough times and not forget that God is a father of orphans and husband of “widows”. God bless you.

  8. ghudd says:

    many that post on the daily bread lecture and give comments 25 times longer that what the devotional was. On today’s topic of Joseph and Mary I find it interesting that Scripture does NOT record a single word that Joseph said. Perhaps many should follow suit.

    1. jerome00 says:

      Hmmm. God bless you and lets all pray for one another.

    2. josy says:

      It is good to know that we can learn from each other, whether to agree or not to agree with comments. It reminds me of descriptions of the old synagogues when someone spoke the Word and then it was discussed infinitely after that. Certain readers have expressed thanks for comments I thought were windy, so obviously comments have their particular audience. Having said that, I have often refrained from adding my comments when they would not really add to the conversation; I often write and delete rather than posting my comments

    3. Forever His says:

      Ghudd, are you ok? It seems like you need prayer. May our Heavenly Father fill your heart with His love and His joy!!!

  9. jpon58 says:

    Good morning, thank you for this word. I’m in the process of adopting a child and felt led by God to do so. Like Mary I’m a single woman and though no husband I obeyed the call. Some may question my decision but I felt compelled to do as told. It hasn’t been an easy road but known the less obedience is better than sacrifice. Thanks! For all the comments today it reassured me that i’m the right thing. I pray God is pleased.

    1. ghudd says:

      I planned a child with no father is not good. Who are you thinking of. The child or yourself. A child is not a toy. What in the world is that comment. “like Mary you are a single woman.” Ever heard of Joseph.

      1. richardtour says:

        ghudd — your comments are harsh and judgmental. You know very little about jpon58’s circumstances. You may want to consider praying and seeking guidance from the Holy Spirit before you post.

        1. ghudd says:

          and so richard, you judge me for so calling judging her. Nice thought.

        2. taomeano says:

          Yes ghudd’s comments are harsh indeed. I have alwasys wondered what sort of heart ghudd displays toward fellow believers in Jesus. I think ghudd lacks peace because while ghudd is criticising people for writing long comments ghudd does the same thing on occassion. May the LORD help ghudd see the folly of his ways.

          1. ghudd says:

            taomeano, don’t play the psychic. You don’t know your own heart, how can you know mine.

    2. Forever His says:

      God bless you for your obedience! Raising a child by a single, godly woman is much better than a child growing up in an ungodly, abusive home!!!

  10. bubbles says:

    When we read about Joseph and Mary, the words “according to the law” following what they did many times. When we read Mary’s magnificant, it’s loaded with Scripture. It can be paralleled to Hannah’s prayer in the Old Testament. These two knew the Word and obeyed it. They are good examples for us.

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