“I Wonder About You, Joseph”
I wonder about you, Joseph.
I wonder what you thought
When you learned of Mary’s condition,
Knowing you’d been with her not
Yet there she was, carrying a son.
I wonder how you felt
When in a dream the angel came
And proclaimed the hand you’d been dealt;
You must have wondered: Would life ever be the same?
I wonder who you were.
A husband to Mary, that we know,
And by trade a carpenter,
But what else? Where did your story go?
I can only imagine the anger and betrayal
And sadness that pierced your heart
When you believed you’d heard of chastity’s fall
And vowed tell Mary to depart
From your presence and sight
Or you’d pronounce with your own breath
The penalty that was your right
To administer: that she die and adulteress’s death.
You must have had strong feelings toward
This young with-child girl,
That upon her was your mercy poured
And not a single stone was hurled.
But what of the confusion, the question, “Who?”
Who did this to your wife-to-be?
Whom you could direct your anger to
And from your pain be free?
And as these things went through your mind
You fell asleep, your decision set
But in your dream a visitor divine
Revealed whom Mary would beget.
He told you take her as your wife
And the Holy Spirit was to blame
For the precious, tiny, holy life
Who would save the world: Jesus was his name.
What a man of faith you must have been
To do just as the angel said
And adopt this child as your own kin
And take your place at this strange family’s head.
Centuries later people wonder
If Mary knew all about her infant son.
But your life also was torn asunder
By what the Spirit had begun.
How did you raise that little boy
Knowing his destiny to save from their sins
His people, to whom he would bring joy
And spark a movement that would touch billions?
And how did your part in this story end?
You’re only there for Christ’s birth and childhood,
But you’re gone well before the message he sends
Enters the world teaching all things good.
You were spared the sorrow of seeing your son on the cross
The infant you raised since he was born.
You didn’t have to feel the loss
As your adopted son died amid scoffing and scorn.
Nor did you see the ultimate glory
Of death overcome, defeated for all
By Christ’s resurrection; you aren’t in that story
Yet it may have been different if you hadn’t answered your call
So many years earlier when the woman you cherished
Was pregnant by another, and you had a choice:
Marry her, reject her, or see that she perished.
When you obeyed as you did, the angels rejoiced.
Jesus is most remembered, and rightfully so,
And Mary’s remembered as the Christ-child’s mother
Who raised and nurtured him, though her station was low,
But she wasn’t alone; she was helped by another.
I wonder about you, Joseph.
I wonder about the man
Who took responsibility for a wife and her child to be
Who was the Alpha, the Omega, the great I AM,
Who came to this earth to save you, and me.