You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks


Welcome to

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on

breaking news

Trump inaugural parade to begin soon

St. Joseph was a quiet man who changed the world forever

St. Joseph remains in the background in Christmas pageants. He’s not mentioned in popular carols — and never utters a word in Scripture.

Still, without him, the Nativity story would be entirely different.

Most kids can recite the angel’s words to Mary — “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you” — but only adults understand why the young girl was troubled, when the angel said she’d conceive a child.

Yes, Mary was a virgin, but she clearly knew the facts of life — which is why she demurred, until the angel explained this would be an extraordinary conception: “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”

Even though this was long ago, she was a real person living in the ordinary world — and must have dreaded revealing the news of her pregnancy to Joseph, her fiance.

Joseph was a “righteous” man, Scripture assures us, so he surely accepted the Jewish rules about proper sexual behavior — which makes me wonder about his reaction to Mary’s story.

It’s possible he stormed around a bit and begged her for the truth. Still, even though he didn’t believe her, he loved her — so rather than embarrass her publicly, he decided to quietly call it quits.

But then a dream upended his plans — and kept the Nativity story from ending tragically.

It seems that, as he slept, an angel’s words dissolved his reservations about Mary’s pregnancy: “Do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.”

Joseph took the dream to heart, as a message from God, and upon awakening, “he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.”

Here’s where the “what ifs?” come in. What if he hadn’t married Mary? What if he’d dismissed the dream as nonsense?

She might have been stoned to death for her apparent indiscretion — with the baby in her womb.

Thanks to Joseph’s faith, though, that chilling scenario never took place. And the next time we hear about the couple, they’re hunkered down in a stable — with bleating sheep, mooing cows and braying donkeys — awaiting Jesus’ birth.

Scripture is silent on this score, but I picture Joseph helping his wife with the birth — and being first to hold their wondrous child.

About a year later, Joseph had another dream, and his faith again saved the day.

This time, the angel had a warning: “Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt … for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.”

Surely it was difficult getting the family safely to Egypt, which was about 40 miles away — a tremendous distance back then.

But Joseph’s perseverance — and willingness to make sacrifices — saved the Christ child from Herod’s bloody plot.

As Christmas draws nearer, I like standing before a statue of St. Joseph, who’s holding the hand of his little boy. What a role model he was for this child!

He was a man of deep faith and compassion, who faithfully protected his family.

True, he isn’t praised in Christmas carols — and never says a word in Scripture. Still, in his own quiet way, he changed the world forever.

Lorraine Murray’s latest cozy, church mystery is “Death Dons a Mask,” available online. Her email is

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Living

This is the best time to order roses for Valentine’s Day
This is the best time to order roses for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is less than a month away, so if you’ve yet to start shopping, there’s a chance you’ll spend more. That’s according to deals site Brad’s Deals, which recently conducted a little experiment to see how the price of a bouquet of a dozen red roses — a classic Valentine’s Day gift in the...
Buying or selling a home in 2017: What to know
Buying or selling a home in 2017: What to know

When it comes to buying a home in Atlanta in 2017, there's one quality buyers want above all. Coldwell Banker Atlanta's Top Previews International Luxury Property Specialist Marc Castillo said he believes the biggest single factor will be about location. "In Atlanta in particular, this will be true because the traffic is getting worse,"...
A force behind diversity in Hollywood has roots in DeKalb
A force behind diversity in Hollywood has roots in DeKalb

Charles D. King knows the power of diverse images. Without them, it’s doubtful he’d be starring in his own Hollywood tycoon story, which includes helping bring “Fences” to the big screen. Google his name and the January 2015 Variety headline “Charles King Leaves WME to Launch Content Company Macro” still pops up...
Protesters pelt Biker for Trump with eggs along parade route

WASHINGTON – The Bikers for Trump brigade came to the Inauguration pledging to form a “wall of meat” to aid police in maintaining order. As protesters mobilized along the parade route, the wall of meat temporarily scrambled with an egg. A biker who gave his name as Carl Z. was pelted after a dust up with protesters. The anti-Trump...
ASO review: Runnicles leads masterful mix of Bruckner’s works
ASO review: Runnicles leads masterful mix of Bruckner’s works

When the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra played a richly blended triple-forte Thursday night, led by a brass section anchored by an authoritative tuba, it sounded otherworldly: It was as if an organist had pulled out all the stops and was raining down on the keys with demonstrable force. During the concert — which programmed...
More Stories