Joseph’s Story

based on Matthew 1:18-25 and Luke 2:1-7

Hi everyone, my name’s Joseph and I’ve been asked to tell you the story of the most incredible thing that’s ever happened to me.  I’m an ordinary carpenter from Nazareth, in Galilee, the north of the country.  I was excited – I’d just got engaged to Mary, a beautiful girl from the village, so my head was full of plans and preparation – I was beginning to build the home we’d live in when we got married, and I made sure there was enough room for us, and God-willing, our children. And things were going so well.  That was until Mary came over one day and told me she had some news.  She was going to have a baby.  And I wasn’t the dad. I couldn’t believe it.  I thought it was a joke. She told me that an angel visited her and told her she’d be having God’s baby, that it was a miracle.  She swore she was telling the truth, but I didn’t … couldn’t believe her.  I was so angry.  I needed to be alone. I needed some time to think. I couldn’t believe it. I had so much hope for our future. It was all gone now. I couldn’t marry her now, not after what she has done. But I loved her. I didn’t want her to suffer more than necessary. I decided to break off the engagement quietly. People didn’t need to know.  But then I had a dream. An angel appeared to me.  Said he was called Gabriel, that he was a messenger sent from God. He told me not to break off the engagement. Don’t hesitate to get married. That Mary was telling me the truth. God’s holy spirit made her pregnant. She was carrying God’s special baby – a boy. When he was born, we were to call him Jesus, which means God saves – because he would come to save his people from the all the mess and hurt they get themselves into. That baby boy would be known as Immanuel – which means God is with us. That baby boy would need an earthly dad to look after him, and Mary would need a good, faithful husband. God had a special job for me to do.  I didn’t know what to say. I couldn’t believe it. But I did.  The angel told me not to be afraid. God can give you the strength you need.  So I made it up with Mary, and we got married.

Months passed, and the day of our son’s birth drew near. All was going to plan, until we received some unwanted mail. The Emperor ordered that a census be taken of the whole empire. Everyone had to return to their ancestral hometown to be counted. My family’s home town is Bethlehem, which meant we had to make the four day journey there … not ideal for poor Mary, who was heavily pregnant.  So, when we got to Bethlehem, we were all exhausted, especially Mary.  We didn’t know if we’d be able to find somewhere to stay. I thought we would be ok somehow, because of the baby Mary was carrying.  That baby was going to be the saviour, the King. God would look after us. I knew he was with us.  We went to visit relatives, but they were full to bursting – lots of family members had come to stay because of the census, so they told us the guest room was full.  But we could stay with them in the family quarter, although, it would involve being with the animals too.  We didn’t care where we stayed as long as it was clean, dry and warm.  We were so relieved.  God really was with us in that moment.  And that’s where Jesus was born.  We wrapped him in cloths and laid him in a manger.  It may seem like a funny place for Jesus to be born – it wasn’t very private or special – he’s a King, after all, but somehow it seemed right – he was born among the people – with ordinary people. He hasn’t just come for so-called important people, but he’s come for ordinary people – to save everybody and nobodies.  The prince of heaven was born as an ordinary person.  And I have the incredible privilege and responsibility of looking after him, of being his dad.  It’s daunting, but I know deep down it’ll be ok, because God’s with us and will help us, as he’s done every step of this crazy journey so far.

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