Author unknown. Sent from Carol Broadaway via Jim Linzey.
We're still in Bethlehem -- Mary and I and little Jesus.
There were lots of things
tell you about last summer.
You wouldn't have believed me
then, but maybe I can tell you
now. I hope you can understand.
You know, Mom, I've
Mary. You and dad used
to tease me about her when she
was still a girl. She and her
brothers used to play on our street. Our families got together for supper. But the hardest day of my life came scarcely a
year ago when I was twenty and she only fifteen. You remember that day, don't you?
The trouble started after
were betrothed and signed the
marriage agreement at our
That same spring
Mary had left abruptly to visit her old cousin Elizabeth in Judea. She was gone three whole months. After she got
back, people started wondering out loud if she were pregnant.
It was cloudy the day when I finally confronted her with the gossip.
"Mary," I asked at last, "are you going to have a baby?"
Her clear brown eyes met mine. She nodded.
I didn't know what to say. "Who?" I finally stammered.
Mom, Mary and I had never acted improperly -- even after we were betrothed.
Mary looked down.
said. "There's no way I
can explain. you couldn't
But I want you to know
I've never cared for anyone but you." She got up, gently took my hands in hers, kissed each of them as if it were the last
time she would ever do that again, and then turned towards home. She must have been dying inside. I know I was.
The rest of the day I
through my chores. It's a
wonder I didn't hurt myself
in the wood shop. At first I was
angry and pounded my frustrations out on the doorframe I was making. My thoughts whirled so fast I could hardly
keep my mind on my work. At last I decided to end the marriage contract with a quiet divorce. I loved her too
much to make a public scene.
I couldn't talk to you.
for that matter. I went to
bed early and tried to sleep.
Her words came to me over
and over. "I've never cared for anyone but you.... I've never cared for anyone but you...."
How I wished I could believe her!
I don't know when I
asleep. Mom, I had a dream
from God. An angel of the Lord
came to me. His words
pulsated through my mind so intensely I can remember them as if it were yesterday.
"Joseph, Son of David,"
"do not fear to take
Mary home as your wife, because
what is conceived in
her is from the Holy Spirit."
I couldn't believe my
This was the answer! The
angel continued, "She will give
birth to a son, and you are
to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."
The angel gripped my
with his huge hands. For
a long moment his gaze pierced
deep within me. Just as
he turned to go, I think I saw a smile on his shining face.
I sat bolt upright in
sleep after that! I tossed about
for a while, going over the
words in my mind. Then I got up
and dressed quietly so I wouldn't wake you.
I must have walked for
beneath the moon less sky.
Stars pricked the blackness
like a thousand tiny pinpoints.
A warm breeze blew on my face.
I sang to the Lord, Mom.
Yes, me, singing, if you
imagine that. I couldn't contain
my joy. I told Him that I would
take Mary and care for her. I
told Him I would watch over her and the child--no matter what anyone said.
I got back just as the
the hilltops. I don't know
if you still recall that morning,
Mom. I can see it in my mind's
eye as if it were yesterday. You were feeding the chickens, surprised to see me out. Remember?
"Sit down," I said to
got to tell you something." I
took your arm and helped you
find a seat on the big rock out
back. "Mom," I said, "I'm going to bring Mary home as my wife. Can you help me make a place for her things?"
You were silent a long time. "You do know what they're saying, don't you, my son?" you said at last, your eyes glistening.
"Yes, Mom, I know."
Your voice started to
your father were still alive, he'd
have some words, I'll tell you.
Going about like that before
you are married. Disgracing the family and all. You.... you and Mary ought to be ashamed of yourselves."
You'd never have believed me if I'd tried to explain, so I didn't.
Unless the angel had spoken to you, you'd have laughed me to scorn. "Mom, this is the right thing to do," I said.
And then I started
you as if I were the head of the
house. "When she comes I don't
want one word to her about
it," I sputtered. "She's your daughter-in-law, you'll respect her. She'll need your help if she's to bear the neighbors' wagging
I'm sorry, Mom. You didn't deserve that. You started to get up in a huff.
"Mom," I murmured, "I need you." You took my hand and got to your feet, but the fire was gone from your eyes.
"You can count on me,
you told me with a long
hug. And you meant it. I never
heard another word. No bride
could hope for a better mother-in-law than you those next few months.
Mom, after I left you I
up the road to Mary's house and
knocked. Her mother glared at
me as she opened the door.
Loudly, harshly she called into the house, "It's Joseph!" almost spitting out my name as she said it.
My little Mary came out
as if she expected me to
give her the back of my hand,
I suppose. Her eyes were red
and puffy. I can just imagine what her parents had said.
We walked a few steps
house. She looked so young
and afraid. "Pack your things,
Mary," I told her gently. "I'm
taking you home to be my wife."
"Joseph!" She hugged me as tight as she could. Mom, I didn't realize she was so strong.
I told her what I'd been planning. "We'll go to Rabbi Ben-Ezer's house this week and have him perform the ceremony."
I know it was awful sudden, Mom, but I figured the sooner we got married the better it would be for her, and me, and the baby.
"Mary, even if our
come, at least you and I can
pledge our love before God."
I paused. "I think my Mom will
be there. And maybe your friend Rebecca would come if her dad will let her. How about your parents?"
I could feel Mary's tiny
shuddering as she sobbed quietly.
"Mary," I said. I could feel
myself speaking more boldly. "No
matter what anyone says about you, I'm proud you're going to be my wife. I'm going to take good care of you. I've promised
She looked up.
I lowered my voice. "I had a dream last night, Mary. I saw an angel. I know."
The anguish which had
her face vanished. She was
radiant as we turned away from
the house and began to walk
up the hill together.
Just then her mother ran
into the yard. "Wait," she called.
She must have been listening
from behind the door. Tears were
streaming down her cheeks.
"I'll get your father,"
almost giddy with emotion.
"We," she cried as she gathered
up her skirts. "We," she
shouted as she began to run to find her husband. "We ... are going to have a wedding!"
That's how it was, Mom. Thanks for being there for us. I'll write again soon.
C Chr'n Ministries & Churches
R Referrals & Reconciliation
O Outreach Opportunities
S Service Opportunities
S Schools & Sponsorships