Do you know who reminds me of me these days? It’s old Job, the faithful, the sufferer. He lived according to the will of the Almighty, yet all was taken away. I, also, have lived by the commandments. No one had forced me; it was my decision.
Before that dream, I had other dreams. Those dreams were without angels. They were dreams of Mary and children.
In the days after Mary confirmed what I had been told, I thought of the lines from Job’s drama: “Curse God and die.” If you do not be lieve there were moments when that invitation was tempting, then you make me out to be something I am not. I am just a man. A carpenter.
But curse the mighty one? I would not, for I‘d had that dream. A carpenter works with what he can see and feel: a corner angle and the heft of wood. But here, I was chasing a dream. The afternoon of my life looked nothing like the morning.
So, on to Bethlehem it was. We had known the census was coming, but the timing was horrible. While we were there, Mary had gone into labor. It was time. In that moment my dreams of always being able to provide for my family were snatched away. I could not find a decent place for her to deliver this child. Voices of shame raged against me. “You are just a carpenter Joseph. Who are you to accompany the only Son of God? He is not even your son. Why are you walking away from all you’ve built just because of a dream?”
“We have no room.”
“Look, son. I see your need. There is room in my stable and that’s all I can offer. Take it. You should have made better plans.”
I am dismayed at how that night is remembered. It was not a production, a staged affair. That is blasphemous. It was a birth. I was scared. She was scared. I had witnessed cattle being born, but never a child. There were no bright lights, no animals moving on cue, no singing.
He came as all come, bathed in the lifeblood of His mother. His conception was divine, but his birth was of the earth.
The dream I chased had my back against a stable wall, my fiancé asleep in blood-red hay, skittish animals as onlookers, and my hands filled with a son not my own.
Adapted from Touching Wonder: Recapturing the Awe of Christmas by John Blasé.