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Christmas Through Joseph's Eyes



Merrylands Presbyterian Church

Sunday, 10 December 2023


"Christmas through Joseph's Eyes"


Scene 1: Mary and Joseph


“Hello, Joe!”


“Oh, Hi Mary! What makes you come over this way?”


“Well. I’ve got something to tell you…And also, I thought you could do with lunch!” Mary replied, holding up a bundled package. “I’ve cooked some lamb stew for you!”


“Aww…! You shouldn’t have done that! I could have gone over to your dad’s once I finished working later this evening.”


“Well…” Mary replied. “I also got something to discuss with you that I thought would be best be just the two of us. Are you busy? Do you have a few moments?


“Uhm….I do have this oxen yoke that I am repairing for our neighbour. They really need this to be done otherwise they could not plow their field again.”


“Well, I just need a few moments…And then I’ll go home and you can go back to work after that.”


“Ok..ok…just give me a few minutes to finish chiseling this bit of wood and I guess it’s lunchtime anyway. I could really use that lamb stew of yours!”


“Alright Mary, what’s on your mind?”

“Wow! That smells delicious! It’s making me so hungry.”


“Let me get some for you on this bowl”, Mary said as she spooned some of her homemade lamb and vegetable stew for her fiancé.


“Delicious!”

“I’m lucky to have you, Mary, as my wife! Even though, you know, you are not my wife, wife yet. Part of our Jewish tradition…we need to wait until this betrothal period is over and then I can take you home…and we can officially be husband and wife. Not long to go now…”


“Say now, you’ve got something you want to talk about with me? Joseph asked through a mouthful of the delicious stew.


“W….w…..well…” Mary stuttered..

“I don’t know where to begin…”


“What’s on your mind, Mary? Just say it out loud! You know, get it off your chest,” Joseph blurted out again as he took another spoonful of that stew. Suddenly a thought came over him and he slowly turned his face, worried brow on his forehead and looked at his fiancée.


“Hang on. Don’t tell me…..are you worried about our wedding day again?”

“I told you before…don’t worry about it. I’ll send messengers to my hometown Bethlehem so that my family could attend. They have been waiting for this day. And so have I. It’ll be all right. We’ll be fine! It would be a wonderful day that day. Yes!”


“No Joe...it’s not that. Yes I know our wedding day would be a wonderful day. But there’s another matter.”


Joseph suddenly stopped chewing. His worried brow seems to have added a few more lines.

“Mary,” his voice seemed oddly calm.

“What is going on?”

“You are having second thoughts?!”

“Are you regretting marrying me?”

“Are…are…you breaking off our engageme…me….nt?” His voice trailing off.


“No..no…no…it’s not about that either. Joseph, I am your betrothed. And in the eyes of the law, I am as good as being your wife.”


“Well, what is it, then Mary?” Joseph, getting a little bit exasperated and perplexed.

“Just tell me!”


‘I’M PREGNANT!”


Scene 2: Joseph and the angel


“TO DIVORCE OR NOT TO DIVORCE?”


“THAT’S THE BIG QUESTION, ISN’T IT?”


“I mean, is there any other option?”

SHE IS PREGNANT WITH A CHILD!

And I KNOW IT’S NOT MINE BECAUSE consummated our marriage yet!

“My goodness! Why am I talking to a mallet?”


“GOD! Are you listening to me? That shouldn’t be THE BIG question!”

“The BIG question should be: ‘How SOON can I divorce her?!”

The big question is how soon can I call this betrothal off?!

How soon can I get out of this mess?!


I mean, Mary took off to see her cousin Elizabeth after our last conversation and I haven’t seen her for 3 months now.

As soon as she’s back, I’ll take her to the synagogue and ask for a divorce!


Yes, that’s what I’ll do

I am sure I would have the elders on my side.

I am sure they will grant me a certificate of divorce.


And what bonkers of an excuse that was!

Conceived from the Holy Spirit?

How bizarre is that? Nothing like that was written in the Torah.

Utter blasphemy!


Why can’t she be upfront with me instead of telling these bizarre excuses?

Yes, God, I will divorce her – as soon as she comes back, I will start the proceedings.


Because your law is clear! Adultery means divorce!


BUT on the other hand…I know, I know God. Your law is very specific. And adultery…if word gets out, that would be a death sentence for her. AT the very least, she would be publicly disgraced. Her family would be disgraced, and they would be forced to live in shame forever.


“Hmm.. well God. Let me sleep on it. …I’m too tired to think about this now.”


Narrator: But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 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.”


“Oh…what was that? Was that a dream? It felt so real.”

“I could almost hear his voice again.”


“Mary was conceived from the Holy Spirit?”

“So Mary was right?” So there was no other man involved!


I am such an idiot!

“I shouldn’t have been too harsh on her!”

I should be hit on the head! Like a nail with a mallet!

I should be like mud on the field, trampled by oxen and their yoke.

As soon as she’s back from her cousin’s place, I’ll go up to her father’s house and tell her how sorry I was.


Scene 3: Joseph and Mary

“Joseph, what are you doing there? Why are you standing outside? How long have you been standing there for?”


“Well… like every day for the past couple of weeks.”


“Come inside the house!”


“I would rather stay outside Mary. Do you have a few moments? Can we talk?


“Yes sure! Why don’t we sit over there?”


“So, how was your visit to your cousin?”


Mary’s eyes glistened at the question.

“Elizabeth, she’s with a child too. She’s in her sixth month?! Can you believe that? That’s a miracle in itself. Do you know that they were quite old? Much older than us. But she was able to conceive in her old age.


And do you know Zechariah? He’s gone totally dumb. He can’t speak. Not a single word. It is as if the Lord God zipped up his mouth.


And do you know what else? When I arrived at Elizabeth, she said the baby in her womb leaped at the sound of my voice…


“It is as if the baby knew who I was, that I was bearing….” Mary’s voice trailed off and she stopped.

“That I was bearing the son of God,” she whispered the last part of her sentence.


“I know you don’t believe me Joseph….but..”


“NO..NO..Mary.” Joseph interrupted.

“You see, I do believe you now!”

“That’s why I am here.”

“Because the angel came and spoke to me too!”

“I am sorry that I didn’t trust you in the first place.”

“I am sorry I acted like an idiot.”

“But you are right! It was a divine miracle.”

“That’s why I was here waiting for you. I’ve been waiting for days…I don’t know when you will come back. But I am so glad to see you now.”

“So here I am. I am here to say this: let’s get married. Let’s not wait for the wedding day. Let’s get married before this baby is born.

Because I am going to be the best dad for this baby, Son of God or not. I am going to raise him up like my own. And we will call him Jesus.


[Mary listened and cherished all Joseph’s words and tears began falling down her eyes.]

“Why don’t we go into the house and tell my family?”

“Yeah…I’d like that. Hope you father’s not mad at me.”


Scene 4: The Decree


“Joseph, what is it? Who was there at the door?” Mary inquired as she walked towards the front door.


“It’s a decree, Mary. From Caesar Augustus. A decree for a census of the entire Roman world.”


“Does that mean that….”

“Yes! We have to go to Bethlehem. To my ancestral town to register for the census.”

“But the baby is due soon,” Mary lamented. “Would we be able to make such a long journey?”

“Well, we have to Mary. Otherwise, there will be repercussions from the governor. I can’t afford to be in jail when the baby is born.”

“So we are going to Bethlehem. And we will take the route by the Dead Sea. It is too dangerous to go through Samaria. That means it will take us at least a week. And if baby Jesus is to be born long the way, then it is God’s will.”

“I’ll go and make the preparations now.”

“Let me see….we’ll need a donkey…clothing, food, and water for a week….”


Scene 5: Bethlehem

“Finally! We have arrived! Look Mary, that’s Bethlehem in the distance.” We will be there by the 12th hour. Then we’ll just have to find a room. I am sure there would be room.”


“Sorry, the inn is full,” the burly man shouted through the crack of the door. “Can you just please help us? She’s preg…” Before Joseph could finish the sentence, the innkeeper slammed shut the door.

“Don’t worry Mary, there’s another one up the road. Surely there is a room in one of these!”


“Did you make a booking? What is your name?” What no booking?

“Can you please help us sir?” Joseph pleaded. Sorry no booking, no room for you!


“Joe, what are we going to do? All the inns that we have passed are full! There is no room for us!


“Well, there is one more just up the road. We will try that one. Surely, if this is the Son of God, there will be a room for Him.


Joseph approach the door cautiously and slowly and began knocking the door.

The door opened and an old lady greeted them at the door.


“Are you the owner?”

“Yes I am son,” the old lady replied.

“Do you have a room for tonight?”


The old lady innkeeper let out a big sigh.

“Sorry son, it’s the census you see. The people from the line of David are all coming back to Bethlehem. This is our busiest time, ever! All the rooms are occupied. There is just no place for you.”


Joe heart sank. “Please can’t you help us? The baby is nearly out.” Joseph said pleadingly, pointing to his wife. “We’ve been travelling for one week. We just need somewhere, anywhere to stay tonight so that she could rest.


“Anywhere did you say?” the innkeeper said. “There is this room…if you can call it a room. But I don’t know whether you and your wife will like it.

“It smells and it leaks if the rain comes…”


‘WE WILL TAKE IT!” Mary blurted out.

“It’s coming Joe…I can feel it. it’s coming. Baby Jesus is coming!”


Scene 6: The first Christmas

Narrator: Baby Jesus was born on that fateful day in Bethlehem. A day that was foreordained by God. It was no coincidence that Caesar Augustus issued a census decree at that particular time nor was it a coincidence that Jesus, the Son of God was not born in a palace like earthly kings and nobles were; nor was it a coincidence that he was not born during Joseph’s and Mary’s journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem or anywhere else, but in Bethlehem itself.

Oh Bethlehem, Oh Bethlehem. An insignificant town. A nothing town. That would later be known as the birthplace of the Lord Jesus Christ.

For Micah, the prophet said:

“But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,

are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;

for out of you will come a ruler

who will shepherd my people Israel.


And so on that fateful night, the Word became flesh in that insignificant town, Bethlehem.. As for Joseph and Mary, they are to give him the name Jesus, which means God saves, and they are to give him the name Immanuel, which means God with us.

And on that fateful night, the glory of God shone around some shepherd in the field and the angel of the Lord proclaimed: “Today, in the town of David, a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.”

As for Joseph, from wanting a divorce in the beginning, to being able to see and accept God’s plan, God’s unpredictable and mysterious plan – well, that’s a great story and example of obedience, don’t you think? But when Joseph woke up and realized that the angel of the Lord had spoken, he did what the angel had commanded him.

We live in a world where there is too much ‘I’ and not much of ‘others’.

A world of selfishness and sin.

And good old Joseph will probably remind you when you see him, the word that they angel spoke to him all those years ago:

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.”


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