Summary: So what is the Joseph effect? For Joseph it wasn’t about labor (carpentry), it was about love. Life is about love.

18 This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. 19Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. 20But after he had considered 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 home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” 22All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23“The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.”

24When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

2:14So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15where he stayed until the death of Herod.

There is not a scrooge moment to be experienced in the Squires’ home during the Christmas season. We love everything about Christmas. We put away the familiar worship music and break out Amy Grant belting out “Immanuel.” We enjoy playing “I Spy” around the Christmas tree. And oh, how we love to kiss under the mistletoe. On Christmas day we read the Christmas story and pray, open gifts, and write our memories down in a Christmas journal. What a joy to read the kids’ comments from years past and to watch as their handwriting improves. Finally, after the gifts are opened, we retire to the dining room for Eggs Benedict prepared by Dad.

Tradition. Routine. Family heritage. One of the joys of Christmas is the anticipation of that which is familiar. Yet it is thrilling to break with tradition, add a new family custom, and watch as people venture down a road never traveled. God did that at Christmas time. This Christmas brings us one season closer to the soon return of Jesus Christ. He came down a road that hadn’t been traveled. He did it as only God can - with grace. Defeating Sin. Giving mankind hope and new future.

The Joseph Effect

The salmon nearly leaped onto their hooks! That was a far cry from the day before when the four anglers couldn’t even seem to catch an old boot.

Disappointed but not discouraged, they had climbed aboard their small seaplane and skimmed over the Alaskan mountains to a pristine, secluded bay where the fish were sure to bite.

They parked their aircraft and waded upstream, where the water teemed with ready-to-catch salmon. Later that afternoon, when they returned to their camp, they were surprised to find the seaplane high and dry. The tides fluctuated twenty-three feet in that particular bay, and the pontoons rested on a bed of gravel. Since they couldn’t fly out till morning, they settled in for the night and enjoyed some of their catch for dinner then slept in the plane.

In the morning the seaplane was adrift, so they promptly cranked the engine and started to take off. Too late, they discovered one of the pontoons had been punctured and was filled with water. The extra weight threw the plane into a circular pattern. Within moments from liftoff the seaplane careened into the sea and capsized.

Dr. Phil Littleford determined that everyone was alive, including his twelve-year-old son, Mark. He suggested they pray, which the other two men quickly endorsed. No safety equipment could be found on board—no vests, no flares, nothing. The plane gurgled and submerged into the blackness of the icy morning sea. Fortunately, they all had waders which they inflated. The frigid Alaskan water chilled their breath.

They all began to swim to shore, but the riptide countered every stroke. The two men alongside Phil and Mark were strong swimmers and they both made shore, one just catching the tip of land as the tides pulled them out toward sea.

Their two companions last saw Phil and Mark as a disappearing dot on the horizon, swept arm-in-arm out to sea.

The Coast Guard reported they probably lasted no more than an hour in the freezing waters—hypothermia would chill the body functions and they would go to sleep. Mark, with a smaller body mass, would fall asleep first in his father’s arms. Phil could have made the shoreline too, but that would have meant abandoning his son. Their bodies were never found.

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