Peace to you this week. Here are the items shared this week which are not covered by copyright. If you would like to be added to the mailing list contact Pastor Pam at the church e-mail.
Meditation on Joseph, husband of Mary: by Bruce Dahms
“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 1:19-20
Joseph – Earthly Father of Jesus – Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.”
Often when setting up the crèche during the season of Advent I have paused and pondered the personalities and characters that make up the holy scene. Of particular interest is the statue of a man who is proudly standing with Mary admiring their newborn child. We find scripture includes Joseph in the life of Jesus from his birth to about twelve years of age. However, what we do know from the gospel of Matthew, is that God chose young adolescent Joseph to be the earthly father of Jesus because he was a righteous person.
Righteous meaning he demonstrated the ability to act correctly in any circumstance. Certainly his actions toward Mary, his fiancé, indicated a kind and sensitive person. When Mary told Joseph she was pregnant he had every right to feel disgraced. He knew the child was not his own. Mary’s apparent unfaithfulness carried a disastrous social stigma. Joseph had the right to divorce Mary, and under Jewish law have her stoned to death. Joseph is reassured by an angel of God’s hand in this humiliating event.
We know the rest of that story! The scriptures do not tell us much about Joseph the carpenter’s fatherly role. To me Joseph’s actions reveal examples of integrity and righteous love. As a parent he ensured his children were equipped to make a livelihood by passing on a trade, in this case carpentry. Equally important, he provided opportunity for spiritual growth and religious experiences for his family. Joseph had strong convictions and acted accordingly. Even when personally wronged he was sensitive to someone else’s shame. He obeyed God and practiced self-control-again a wonderful example of integrity and godly character.
My study and contemplation on this crèche character-Joseph-leads me to these ‘life-lessons’: It is not easy to entrust your children to someone else. Imagine, God choosing a teenaged young man to raise his own son. Joseph had God’s trust. Mercy always triumphs. Joseph could have acted severely towards Mary’s apparent indiscretion, but he chose to offer love and forgiveness. Walking in obedience to God may lead to humiliation and shame in our society-but He leads and guides us as we trust.
“Holy Father, graciously grant us, by the example of Joseph, the obedience and sincere will to complete the work you set us to do. AMEN
Second item is a scrumptious recipe from Pam Polfuss Schmidt:
Spicy Ginger Snaps
Pam Polfuss Schmidt says: “These spicy little cookies are so delicious, especially during the holidays! They remind me of the ginger snaps my Grandma used to make, and when I bite into one, it feels like a warm hug.
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
¾ tsp cinnamon
1 ½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp cloves
¾ cup butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar + ¼ cup for rolling
¼ cup molasses
- Position rack in middle of oven and preheat to 325°F. Grease cookie sheets.
- In a bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt and spices; set aside. In large bowl, combine butter and 1 cup sugar using mixer until well mixed, about one minute. Add the egg and molasses; beat on low speed until completely incorporated, scraping down the bowl occasionally with a spatula. Slowly add the flour mixture until mixed thoroughly.
- Put the ¼ cup sugar in a small bowl. Scoop up a rounded teaspoon of dough, roll between the palms of your hands into a ball. Lightly roll dough ball in the sugar to coat it completely and place on a prepared cookie sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough, spacing the balls about 3 inches apart. Bake 1 sheet at a time, until the cookie edges are just lightly browned and the tops are firm at the edges and cracked in the centre, 14 – 16 minutes.
Let the cookies cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then using a wide spatula, transfer to wire rack to cool completely, about 30 minutes. Store the cookies in an airtight container. Yields 20 large cookies.
Use this time together in the kitchen to share stories about making decisions, learning the hard way, and loving as the default response. Peace to you and spicy cookies and milk