Joseph of Nazareth

I simply didn't know what to do.
When I heard she was pregnant, I was confused.
We were only engaged, you know, and I hadn't touched her.
So when the gossip reached my ears —
why can't those busybodies just shut their mouths! —
I thought the whole thing over, time and time again.
Should I still go through with it, even if she had gotten herself in trouble?
It wasn't my idea for us to get married, in the first place;
it was our parents who set it up, as is the custom with our people.
But the fact is, I really did care for the girl
in spite of not being able to spend much time getting to know her.
You understand how it is — two young people just aren't allowed
to be alone together a lot, without chaperones.
Besides, I had the business to look after — houses to build, roofs to repair.
So I didn't get to see a lot of her,
but I saw enough to know we would be happy together.
And, until this latest news came, everything I had heard about her was positive —
a lovely girl, they said; industrious, chaste, devoted to God.
So, as I considered breaking our engagement,
which under our Law I had every right to do,
I figured we could cover the whole thing up.
Maybe she could go to live with her cousin,
the older one who was also having a baby,
and nobody here in Nazareth would know the difference
if she had the baby over there with plenty of family to look after her.
But that didn't happen, as you know.
I got a different word from the Lord about what I needed to do.
It was like a dream, but I know God's messenger spoke to me
telling me I didn't need to be afraid,
that I should marry her after all.
There was something special about her child, he said.
He wasn't just anyone's baby, it was the Holy Spirit who was responsible.
The child would be the One who would rescue his people from the sin
that has kept them from doing what God called our father Abraham to do,
to be a blessing to all people, everywhere.
I was glad to hear what the messenger said
because, as I told you, I cared a lot for little Mary.
So we got married, after all, and she had the baby later
while we were staying at Bethlehem during the census.
That was a rough time, because we didn't have
the best of accommodations for a mother in childbirth.
But I did what I could to make her comfortable,
and I named the baby Jesus, as the messenger in my dream told me to do.
We finally got him back to Nazareth,
after a little scrape with Herod's people
that took us down to Egypt for a while.

So now Jesus is grown up and well educated in the Scriptures,
and is thinking about a career as a teacher.
I'm sure the Lord will use him to set our people straight
about what he wants them to do, as his messenger told me.
But I'm getting along in years, and might not be around to see it.
I've already turned most of the business over to James, Jude and Joses,
and Jesus helps his brothers when he's not busy studying.
So I may not be of much help to Jesus in days to come,
but I know Mary will be there for him.
Mary! I love her to this day,
as much as I did when we were engaged and newly married.
She has been a good wife and mother,
and I hope nothing happens to Jesus to cause her grief.