He worked wonders with wood. Miters and joints so tight you could scarcely see them, sanded to liquid smoothness and pegged to perfection. When the Spirit struck him, he could carve, too—with such precision and attention to detail his eye seemed to see beyond the grain to the beauty within. In his hands, the transformation from seed to sapling, tree to table seemed a natural progression, a God-given purpose only he could unlock.
He was known in Nazareth as a hardworking and honorable man. Rumor had it he was descended from kings. But he was quiet, mostly; humble and discerning. He had an eye for wood, and for one girl, who was promised to God. It seemed a significant obstacle. He lived alone.
Then one day, God moved. Specifically, He beckoned—calling the unmarried men of David’s line to the temple, seeking a husband for this most favored daughter. Joseph came as he was bade, sandals on his feet, a shaft of wood, light and strong, in his hand. There she was. There he stood, one of several silent men waiting, expectantly, for a sign. The priest conferred with her parents.
God help me, he thought, for her I would work such wonders. But I am just a carpenter.
She raised her eyes and met his—met, and held. The staff in his hand shuddered and creaked as green shoots sprang forth from the top, unfurling into leaves and three soft white lilies.
Joseph’s gaze fell to the flowers above his trembling hand. The others gasped and murmured in amazement: The dead wood had bloomed!
Mary smiled. She was a woman, after all.