Every day this Advent we will be sharing reflections from Christian authors. Today's is by Nick Fawcett.
Meditation of Joseph
I didn’t know what to think,
not when she first told me –
my sweet innocent Mary, pregnant!
I suppose I should have been angry,
and I was later …
But that wasn’t my first reaction;
it was shock, more like;
an inability to take it in.
You see, I just couldn’t see her playing around,
deceiving me behind my back –
Other girls perhaps,
but she wasn’t like them;
I’d have trusted her with my life if necessary.
So when she started chattering on about this angel,
about being with child by the Holy Spirit,
do you know what?
No, honestly, I really did!
Maybe that does sound daft,
but I just couldn’t believe she was making it all up,
inventing an excuse to get her off the hook.
And, let’s face it, if it were an excuse it was a pretty lame one;
I mean, when’s the last time you saw an angel?
But if I took it calmly at first,
it wasn’t long before the doubts set in,
the questions that couldn’t be answered,
the niggling voices that wouldn’t go away.
And in no time suspicion had grown into something worse –
I’d have called off the engagement;
much as I liked the girl,
there was simply no way a man in my position
could countenance going through with it,
not if I wanted to keep any semblance of respectability.
She was tarnished, according to the Law anyway,
her purity soiled;
and if I took no notice
the village gossips would soon put their heads together
and decide I had done the tarnishing –
too impatient to wait until the goods had been paid for.
So that was it.
My mind was made up.
It was just a question of finding the right words and the right time,
breaking it to her as gently as I could.
Only then I had this dream,
almost a vision you might say it was, looking back,
so powerfully did it speak to me.
Suddenly it was me seeing angels, not Mary,
it was me hearing the voice of God instead of her;
and it was the same message,
the same story –
this child she carried,
born of God,
his gift to humankind,
the one who would at last redeem his people.
Did I believe it?
Well, I suppose I must have done, in a way.
I married her after all,
despite the snide remarks,
the wagging tongues.
Maybe, of course, I wanted to marry her anyway,
or just didn’t want to hurt her.
Maybe I simply liked the thought of being a dad,
and wanted to believe that story of hers,
incredible though it seemed.
To be truthful
there were probably all kinds of reasons behind my decision;
yet perhaps it’s through such things as those,
our everyday thoughts and feelings,
just as much as through dreams and visions,
that God chooses to speak to us.
Perhaps through those most of all.
Brought up in Southend-on-Sea, Essex, Nick Fawcett served as a Baptist minister for 13 years, and as a chaplain with TocH for 3, before deciding to focuson writing and editing, which he continues with today, despite wrestling with myeloma, an incurable cancer of the blood. He lives in Wellington, Somerset, with his wife, Deborah, and - when they are at home from university - his two children, Samuel and Kate. His aim, increasingly, is to write material free of religious jargon that reaches out to people of all faiths and none.
December 24th, 2017 - Posted & Written by The Editor