Joseph collapsed inside, no longer seeing a future that included Mary. Her words stung his thoughts. Joseph, I’m going to have a baby. And Joseph knew that it wasn’t his. It was as though his heart had been pierced by a sword. Moreover, a sword held by the one he had loved more than life itself.
He swiped at the tears on his cheek. His choices were as obvious as the bulge under Mary’s clothing. Promises, hearts, and the laws of God…all broken. Joseph’s stomach churned. He couldn’t stand the thought of making their disgrace a public spectacle. And how could he allow the other men to end Mary’s life by stoning? Even though the law allowed such a gruesome result for her actions, Joseph would not let her and…her baby…to die that way.
“I will send her away privately,” he whispered. Divorce her. Let her run away. Defiled but alive.
A few minutes later Joseph stumbled into his house, and then collapsed on his bed. Sleep came suddenly.
And so did the angel.
Moments later Joseph’s slammed his eyes open, and searched the silent darkness. He jumped to his feet, his mind replaying the angel’s message as he charged out the door. By the time he reached the home of Mary’s parents sweat was streaming down his forehead. He stopped in the courtyard, trying to catch his breath. But the sight of Mary standing in the doorway stole it away again.
He hurried to her, and squeezed her hands in his. “Mary,” he said, gazing into her warm brown eyes, “an angel came to me in a dream. He told me we would have–”
“A son,” Mary whispered, tears pooling in the corners of her eyes.
They laughed. Joseph nodded his head.
Mary closed her eyes. “And we are to name him–”
“Jesus!” Joseph smiled.
Mary’s eyes widened. They both spoke at the same time, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.”
***Part two of the story will be posted on Monday (Christmas Eve).