For the second Sunday of Advent, the character we’re considering is Joseph. As I thought about Joseph and his place in the Christmas story, I wondered what went through his mind, and have decided to explore the question at three particular points. Unfortunately the third muse ends kind of abruptly, but we’ll come back and pick it up there later.
The First Muse
What a turn my life has taken these past two days. When Mary told me that she had something to discuss with me, I assumed it would be about the wedding, or about setting up our home… those are the only things she’s spoken about for a month now! Who knew. How can she just drop this on me like this, taking me aside and telling me that she’s with child. And she seems almost happy about it! Such a naieve girl….
….I can’t believe it, she’s from a good family, her father is known and regarded well in the community, how can….
….How can she really expect me to buy this story about an angel? Telling me that she’s with child in one breath, and that her virtue remains intact in the next breath? Oh, please. What does she take me for? She’s of marriageable age, she knows full well that these things — I wonder who….
….no, I’m not going to go there. But how can she throw away the plans we’ve made for our life together? Surely she must know what kind of position she’s put me in! I’ve built up a reasonable business with my woodwork — not that I’m wealthy or ever will be, but it’s enough to provide for us. I myself am becoming known in the community. Yoseph. Not just “Yacov’s boy,” or even “Yoseph ben-Yacov,” but Yoseph. People know me, I have a good name and some degree of reputation. If I take her for my wife now, everyone will assume the child is mine. My business will suffer over this, how will I earn a living for us? Reputable people will know, they will take all their business to Matthias, or even to Nathan’s son, and he’s only just starting out in business! No, the community would not overlook this. Still….
….I am fond of Mary. Her father is a man of honour, and — this is not going to go well for him either. I don’t want to do anything to tarnish their family name. This is so agonizing.
….We had so many dreams together. I was so looking forward to the home we would have. The new dining table is even finished already, sitting in my shop! I’ve already begun making changes in the house, too; a young wife doesn’t want everything as it was when her husband lived alone as a bachelor! This has come as such a shock to me, and I’m even shocked at the depth of emotion I feel. Men of may age should not be given to tears, and yet….
….I had so much looked forward to having Mary as my wife, sharing our lives together, starting a family, having children —
*Sigh.* My children should be my children. Though it pains me intolerably, I know what I must do. I’m so saddened by this whole thing, so… so disappointed. At least it was found out now and not later. Perhaps we can still deal with it in a quiet manner, and perhaps in a year or so I might find someone else with whom I can start a family. Two days. Has it only been that? I suppose I’ll speak with her father before this next Sabbath.
The Second Muse
Not even sunup yet, and….
….Did I have too much beer last night? My mind plays tricks! An angel in my dreams, who has heard of such a thing in the slumber of a carpenter? His words… “Yoseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Y’shua, for he will save his people from their sins.”
“Son of David,” he called me. True, my family can trace our lineage back to David, but we have never thought of this in connection with the promised Messiah. The Messiah! Such a thing….
….this is all to great for me!
Mary. Oh, Mary…. She’s been nothing but forthright, and I was prepared to put her aside…. I’ve arranged to see her father this afternoon, and I….
….It’s really true, isn’t it? Yes, it is, of course it is. But how can it be? Son of David or not, I am not such a man that should be father to a holy child! He should be the son of — well, if not a rabbi, then a pharisee, or at least a scribe! Surely this can’t be….
….but it is. I know it is. I know it is. Angels do not appear to common folk, and yet in my dream last night — I know what I saw. I believe Mary. I believe all of it now. I will change my decision, and take Mary as my wife; we….
….this doesn’t change how the community will see us. My business will suffer, perhaps we won’t be able to stay here, maybe — well, God will have to look after this child and provide for him, it’s out of my hands. My decision will be firm.
The ways of God are strange… who would ever have imagined?
The Third Muse
This child in my arms…. an hour old. So tiny, so helpless! Son, you are Y’shua, for you “will save our people from their sins.” So small. To think I very nearly….
….and now here we are, in a stable. A stable! Hardly what we would have imagined, and yet Mary has been such a good sport about the whole thing. A difficult path lies ahead, I’m sure. But looking into this child’s eyes….
How can I be a father to this holy child? I’m certainly — what’s that noise? Who could be — shepherds? What th—