Countdown to Christmas - Day 9  

Posted by Benjie in , , ,

Yesterday, we had Mary's song. Today I'd like to consider what it might have been like to be Joseph. The biblical record says little more than:

18Now the birth o Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
 23 "Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
   and they shall call his name Immanuel"
   (which means, God with us). 24When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus. (from Matthew 1, ESV)

This has been a fascination of mine for some time (scroll down past the video to read an excerpt from Just a Simple Carpenter). And a few years ago, the men from 4Him did some consideration about this musically. The result: "A Strange Way to Save the World" -

(from Just a Simple Carpenter, copyright 2000, Loom & Wheel, Palestine, TX)
On the seventh day, I completed the cradle. It would be ready to receive the child the next day, the day of his consecration—his dedication to God. I looked forward to the ceremony. Zechariah made a special point to invite me. He said that he had no other way to repay me for the exquisite bed I had fashioned for his miracle son. I gladly accepted the invitation for it allowed me to be one of the first to see the baby, his mother, and her attendant—Mary.
            After the priests finished with the ritual of circumcision and dedication to God in the custom of Israel, I quickly scanned the faces behind the men. I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw her face. Zechariah had spoken the truth. Not only was Mary most radiant among women, not only did her face glow with the beaming smile I remembered, but as I saw her eyes, those eyes that smile into my heart, I could see that she was even more beautiful than my feeble mind could remember.
            And then the crowd moved. Then I saw Mary. I saw her fully. And my world crashed in around me. Truth caved in from her obvious condition. Questions of her fidelity no longer nagged at my mind. One question replaced them all, “Why?”
            Why had that scoundrel Rajeesh, that poor excuse for a man, been right?
            Why had Mary betrayed me? She could not hide the fact that her time to deliver the baby drew near.
Why? Oh, why had I not seen it before? I had loved the young woman before me. This woman who now was obviously bearing a child. I had thought that she loved me as well. I wanted to be angry, but I still loved her. I turned and walked away. I must pray; I must decide what to do. My wife, my very life, had betrayed me. She had betrayed our vows. She had betrayed God.

            I could not stay in the house of Zechariah that night. He had known. He must have known. But instead of telling me, instead of warning me, he said, “She is the most radiant of women. Count the blessings of the Lord God.” And then he returned to the tale of the angelic visit announcing the birth of John.
            I left Jerusalem and slept on the side of the road that night. Tears filled my eyes as I laid down. I had made my decision. I could not bear to keep Mary as my wife; she had been unfaithful. No one even mentioned that she had been attacked on the road to Jerusalem. She even seemed to be happy to be having a baby—a baby that I knew was not my own. No, she could not remain my wife. She had defiled herself before man and before God.
            Neither could I hurt her. Yes, she was no longer the pure woman I had known at our betrothal just months before. But still my heart ached with love for her, a love I knew could never die. I had decided. I would divorce her. But I would do it quietly. I would find a way to keep her from having the disgrace of her unfaithfulness heaped upon her by a noisy public divorce. I would quietly go to her father. We would work out some way to keep Mary’s sin from being further broadcast by the likes of Rajeesh and even my friend Hoshea. It could be done. And I would make it my last act of love for her.
            I wept bitterly as I made my final decision. The only solution that satisfied my dilemma also bored deeply into my heart of love for Mary. Sleep born only of exhaustion overtook me, and I dreamed. I dreamed a dream like none I had ever dreamt before. Nor have I ever dreamt a dream like it since. I dreamt an angel.

This entry was posted on 09 December 2011 at 2:00 AM and is filed under , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

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