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He was a humble man, soft-spoken, given to reflection. He worked hard—his hands calloused by his tools and bronzed by the sun. Unjust taxes robbed him of financial security, and in the coolness of the evening he sought solace in the Book of Psalms. How well he understood the centuries-old cry, “To you, Yahweh, I lift my soul, O my God. I rely on you. Do not let my enemies gloat over me.”

He never complained. Mourning doves still hooo-hooo-ho-hoood in the yard surrounding his one-room rock and stucco house. Goats still gave their milk by his latch-door. Greening fields afforded hope for the harvest.

But he was lonely. Stories of a comely woman in the neighboring village stirred his imagination; it was if he heard her song. He would go see her, his sandeled feet spirited along miles of dusty roads. Rarely did he stop to rest.

She, too, had been waiting for him in her courtyard as she combed flax and watched the sun shadow the distant hills across from her. Yet, seemingly insurmountable difficulties rocked their betrothal. Stunned, he waited—said nothing—prayed—and begged for a dream. And direction did come. They married and later gave birth to their firstborn son; his feet drew tender-hallowing from the new father as he wondered.

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The name of this humble man was Joseph of Nazareth, a hardscrabble town in Galilee.

Merry Christmas!

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