Joseph

We are cold, hungry, and terrified.
We settle in at a barn; I begged the innkeeper and he let us stay here.
Mary is about to deliver, and I’m at a complete loss for what to do.
I’m a carpenter, not a physician.
I spread out the hay as best I can to make Mary comfortable.
She screamed and screamed, as the baby made his way to us.
Oh God, I plead, help me
Help Mary.
Her screams echo in my head as she pushed and pushed.
This baby was coming, whether we were ready or not
Whether the world was ready or not.

Mary is a virgin and this birth, this whole event, is impossible.
The angel told me in my dream that this baby was special.
But I am not prepared for this.
How could I?
My wife, untouched by me or any other man, is giving birth.
Only me and her are present, plus the animals
And the blood.
Oh.  Dear.  Lord.  There is blood everywhere.
One big push, the baby comes out screaming
While Mary becomes suddenly quiet.
I didn’t… I don’t know what to do.
I cut the cord, wrapping the baby in some torn rags I find in a corner.
I lay the baby in a manger so I can attend to Mary.
She says my name, as tears roll down her face.
I take off my cloak and use it to stop the bleeding.
The baby keeps crying and crying and Mary is fading fast.
Here we are, my wife and I, in the middle of the desert, homeless, in the cold of night
In a barn, blood everywhere, baby crying, and I prayed to God
Either pray or completely lose my mind and pass out.

Please God, I need your help.
We are all alone and I don’t know what to do.
Please, don’t let Mary die
Not like this, not tonight
Please…
Then  suddenly, a knock on the barn door.
I smile and kiss Mary and whisper to her God has heard my prayers.
He has sent help, perhaps a physician, or perhaps the angel from my dream
Has come to help us.
I run to the door, swing it wide, and there stood shepherds.
Shepherds.
No physician.
No innkeeper who may have heard the noise and rushed over to help.
No angels.
Just.  Shepherds.
I ask, “Can I help you?”
The shepherds say they were told by an angel to come to this place
To see the baby.
Here I stand, my wife’s blood on my hands, my wife near death, the baby screaming
And God sends…
Shepherds?
I asked them to leave before I hurt someone.
They practically beg to stay, stating they came from a far way
To see the baby.
Mary said my name and I didn’t have time to argue with these men.
I let them in and take their cloaks to keep Mary warm and to attempt to stop the bleeding.
They stared at the baby, some kneeled, one began to weep.
How strange I thought.
Mary asks to hold the baby; I let her and the baby keeps crying and crying.
She says he is beautiful, but I can’t be concerned with that now.
Making sure Mary was okay was my top priority.

We were there for some time, Mary had begun to get her strength back, and the bleeding had subsided.
Mary held the baby, which, of course, was still crying.
I’m  so…worn and tired.
It is so late, we’ve traveled so far, the weight of taking care of Mary
Of taking care of this…baby that was not my own.
We haven’t eaten, we barely have any money.
Where will we go, it is not safe to go back home.
These things weigh on me when another knock found itself at the barn door.
Who could it be now??
I opened the door, and there were three men, strangers from a far away land
Who followed a star that led them here
To us.
To the baby.
I’m tired, hungry, and had had quite enough of strange men coming to see my wife and the baby.
I ask the men to leave  and began to shut the barn door.

They pleaded, saying they must see the child.
I told them my wife was not well and they needed to go away.
They said they brought gifts.
I resist the urge to give them a piece of my mind and fist.
The one said he brought gold.
I invited our new friends in and told Mary we had guests.
They came around Mary and knelt; Mary asked if I would hold the baby.
I refused.  The angel from my dream told me not to put Mary away and what to name the baby, but that was it.
I knew that child was not mine, I…just need to keep my distance.
The baby seemed to cry harder and Mary said, “Joseph, please”.
I walk over, take the baby in my arms and…
Yeshua stopped crying, almost immediately.
He looks right at me, it was like staring at the sun in the heat of the day.
It was…

Here I stand, holding Yeshua, as the angel instructed me to name Him.
He looks at me as if he somehow knows it will all be okay.
I look over at Mary and she’s smiling.
She said, “I think he likes you.”
I’ve never felt such….peace…such…calm…
My worry, my fears, just…went away.
I held Yeshua close to my chest.
As I became uncertain who was holding who…
I don’t know what Yeshua will grow up to be.
Perhaps a teacher?
Perhaps a Rabbi?
Perhaps a carpenter like me?
But at that moment, a song erupted from my soul.
A song such as my ancestor David would sing
Silent Night
Holy Night
All is calm
All is bright.

[Poem #27 of 30.]

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