Thanks to Michael and Judy for sharing this gift, a first person account written by Judy’s late father.
meet Joseph – the husband of Mary and Step Father of Jesus.
Mary, her faithfulness and courage….and the part she played in God’s plan to
bring Jesus to the world.
about Joseph. It is presumed that
Joseph died some time before Jesus began His ministry, because he is not
mentioned again in the New Testament during those years.
the following narrative of historical fiction, is to experience Joseph as a
real person, to learn about his
faithfulness and courage, and learn why God chose Joseph to raise His son.
after a child was weaned from his mother, a boy spent most of his time with his
father. It was the father’s
responsibility to teach his son his trade and, among the Jews, to teach the
Torah, the Jewish laws & scripture, to his son.
hear his story!
reading. It should be read with authentic
feeling and passion! Joseph relives each
part of the story in the telling. The
Narrator, too, imparts appropriate expression and emotion. The part of Joseph is best read by a man,
dressed in appropriate garb of a carpenter in that time. His entrance may be accompanied by “old
world” sounding music after the Introduction is read, such as Peter Gabriel’s “PASSION”
album, track 7,
begins speaking. The part of Narrator is
best read by a woman to offer a vocal contrast to the masculine voice of Joseph
and dressed in modern clothes, so as not to be confused to represent Mary.)
December 20, 2015
Gallucci & Michael J. Gallucci
United Methodist Church, Mountain Top, PA
am here to tell you my story. It is a
very unusual story, even unbelievable to many.
But, as God as my witness, I tell you the truth.
as the place to live and ply my trade. I
was engaged to a young woman named Miryam, or Mary. Mary’s willingness to accept me was a welcome
surprise! AH, to be engaged to such a
young and vibrant girl was a joy I no longer expected! You see, my first wife died in childbirth
and, for a long time, I had given up hope of marrying again. But, then, Mary entered my life. Her sweet innocence was such an antidote for
my sadness. Even so, I found it
difficult to accept that I was in love again and bring myself to broach the subject
of marriage to her parents.
learned of her elder cousin Elizabeth’s pregnancy and requested to visit to
offer her help. It’s was a very typical
thing for women to do. Elizabeth was in
her final stages of pregnancy, so Mary went to be with her to help with
months while she visited her cousin. Oh,
how I looked forward to seeing Mary after Elizabeth delivered her son! I imagined the bright and vivacious girl
running to meet me! About three months
later, Mary returned and my happiness came to a crushing end. PREGNANT!
trace his ancestry back to the revered King David, he felt unprepared to be
involved in a situation as shameful as this.)
down! I tell you the truth; I was NOT the father! How COULD she?! This pregnancy was more than a matter of
personal betrayal! Like me, Mary was a
descendant of King David! She
knew the Torah and the requirements it placed on a believing Jew! How could she have been so foolish?! When did the conception take place? Was she already pregnant when she agreed to
accept my marriage proposal? Is THAT why
she accepted me?!
were limited and none of them attractive.
He could act on his indignation and shame Mary by publically declaring
that he was not the father of the baby she was carrying. Where should he turn? Working at his shop was impossible. He would not be able to concentrate on
wood-working with a burden like this.)
marriage seemed impossible now. The
additional disgrace for her was that she, too, was in the line of David, from
which the promised Messiah was to come.
to visit the Rabbi. So, as early as
possible, he went to the Rabbi’s home.
The Rabbi was obviously annoyed at having a visitor so early in the
morning. But his annoyance elevated to
consternation when Joseph explained the nature of his visit.)
and pregnant? Things like this don’t
happen in upright Jewish families.”
“Joseph”, he said, “I believe you.
But, if you are not the father, who is?
That man, if he is a Jew, will have to marry Miryam.” I told him, “I don’t know, Rabbi. Mary won’t tell me who the man is. No, that’s not right. What she said was that she became pregnant
without being intimate with a man….and she expects me to believe her!”
and Joseph was on his way home from seeing his Rabbi. The visit to Miryam’s parents was a
near-disaster. Her mother was almost
hysterical. Over and over, all she could
say was, “She’s a good girl! How could
she allow this to happen? How can we
face our neighbors? How can we go to
worship? Why did she do this?” Talking to them was futile. Clearly, they were frightened by the prospect
of having an unwed, pregnant girl in their home. Instead of giving answers, they were
expecting Joseph to produce a solution.)
to my shop. Further discussion with Mary’s
parents was pointless. It seemed I had two
choices: Deny publically that I was the
father of the child Mary was carrying – which would leave her disgraced and
condemned by the community, OR marry her and allow people to think that I was the
child’s father and accept the embarrassment and ridicule.
night I awoke in a cold sweat! What I
heard was more than a dream! The voice
was clear and the words unmistakable. “Do not be afraid to take Mary as your
wife.” What was I to make of
it? Did it confirm what the young woman
told me about her pregnancy? She
couldn’t keep her condition a secret for long.
Even Andrew, the potter, who harbored some unwarranted envy, taunted me,
“Joseph, couldn’t you wait?”
came! An edict by Caesar. A world-wide tax. Joseph had to travel to Bethlehem, to his
family’s ancestral home, to be counted. Should
he take Mary?)
prayer and meditation, I made my decision.
I had no doubt the voice I heard in my dream was from God. So, I chose to obey my Lord and accept Mary’s
miraculous story. I would marry her and take
Mary with me to Bethlehem. The child had
to be protected at all cost, even if it meant accepting the false accusations that
I had “known” Mary intimately, due to my willingness to marry her.
the taunts and haranguing of others.
Like Mary, Joseph surrendered himself to God’s will and assumed the role
of the Lord’s servant. Years later,
Christ would do the same thing and teach his disciples to do likewise.)
most horrible, unspeakable evil occurred.
King Herod sent out an edict that all baby boys two years of age and under
were to be killed in every household in and around Bethlehem! It was then that I had the same kind of dream. The voice said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt, and stay
there until I tell you to leave, for Herod is going to look for the child in
order to kill him.” This time I
welcomed the vision. I had been in doubt
about my ability to be the protective husband and father Mary and the child needed. I could not even give Mary a decent and clean
place to give birth. That was a real low
point in our strange odyssey.
came to see the child after he was born, some brought gifts and worshipped him,
which was very puzzling, yet wonderful.
Some told us amazing stories about angels, that Mary’s child was the
promised Messiah and about being led by a star.
Whatever doubt I had left about Mary’s pregnancy vanished. Of course, I wasn’t certain this child was
the Messiah. After all, why would God
choose a simple man like me to help raise the Promised One?! But whoever this boy was, I knew he was very special.
fled to Alexandria in Egypt as I was instructed in my dream. Alexandria did prove to be a hospitable place
to hide. And we blended in well with the
Jewish community there.
Joseph that Jesus adored and respected him.
Joseph was his hero. Jesus
followed his father everywhere and with good reason. He was a good father and mentor. Although not a Rabbi, Joseph was steeped in
Jewish tradition and law and was a very patient and excellent teacher. Jesus was a sponge, soaking up everything
Joseph had to offer and was fascinated by his father’s craftsmanship that
dignified his work.)
fled with my small family to Alexandria, and my family was growing. I was so pleased that the attachment between
Jesus and me continued to grow very strong.
The boy was exceptionally bright and, though he was too young and small
to perform a carpenter’s task, he knew every detail of a skilled carpenter’s
planning and execution for providing yokes for oxen and furniture for the home.
the child’s life, had died, Joseph wasn’t sure it was good news. This meant they could return to
Palestine. But, Mary and Joseph had
adjusted to the life of the Jews of the diaspora. Should they give up what was beginning to be
a comfortable life? In just a few more
years, they would surely be accepted as upstanding members of their local
synagogue. Move now?)
in a dream instructing me to return home to Palestine. The mandate from God was clear. My family and I could meld into Palestine’s
social structure without creating notice.
Mary never complained nor doubted the Source of the messages in my
dreams. Our love and respect for each
other continued to grow, as we submitted ourselves to God and this strange
journey. The Lord led me and I led my
family, which…I must admit…was terrifying at times. So, in spite of the inconvenience and
wrenching good-byes to friends newly made, I went about the chores needed to
get ready for the hard journey back.
in place, with their meager belongings stowed on a donkey that was old enough
to be affordable, Joseph shepherded his young family home. Neither the Bible nor historians of the
period recorded anything of that journey, but we do know that Joseph thought it
wise not to
boys to Nazareth. Joseph’s decision
fulfilled what the prophets had spoken, that Christ would be called a
Nazarene. There, he settled and, in time,
became known as the carpenter. What was
far more significant for the world is that the child who grew up to become the
Messiah, would be called the carpenter’s son.)
wondered if and when Jesus should be told about his miraculous conception. But, the pressure of supporting a growing
family was enough to keep me from dwelling too much on his birth and
identity. Jesus absorbed knowledge and developed skills
to become a good carpenter. And he was
outstanding at acquiring an understanding of Torah and all the books of the
Tanach. A neighbor told me the local
Rabbi was astonished at Jesus’ knowledge of Torah and suggested that he should
become a Rabbi, rather than a carpenter.
So, why should I be concerned?
thought of himself as a carpenter, not a pseudo-rabbi, he was influential in
his son’s spiritual development. Joseph
was not a religious intellectual. The
differences that were fought over by Pharisee and Sadducee sects were beyond
the pragmatism of an observant Jew like him.
Joseph offered the direction of someone who lived in the “real world”
and valued the good that caring neighbors could do for one another beyond the
preachments of Israel’s religious leaders. This influence would ultimately evidence
itself in Jesus’ ministry by his distaste for the thousands of complicated
rules with which priests and rabbis embellished Mosaic Law. His preference for simplicity in worship and
day to day living would become the hallmark of Christ’s messages and ministry.)
of age, it was time to begin the studies that would lead to his Bar Mitzvah and
become a true “son of the covenant”. For
this reason, a trip to Jerusalem was in order.
Mary already talked to friends about making the annual journey in
connection with the Passover holiday. And
it was far better to make the trip to Jerusalem in a large group.
were unaware of the dangers. For them,
the journey and the time spent in David’s city was a wonderful holiday. This one was special for Jesus. Though it isn’t required, most of parents believed
it was important for boys to visit the great Temple when they were about to
start the two-year instruction that would prepare them for manhood. There was nothing like the great Temple in their
part of the world!)
studies to become Bar Mitzvah, a high point is the chance to meet and receive a
Mazel Tov, a blessing, from one or more of the Temple priests. I knew this was an experience Jesus was
anticipating eagerly. The boy exhausted me
and the local Rabbi with endless questions.
Every answer seemed to evoke another question, with “why?” being the
usual question to top off all the rest.
nervous about Jesus meeting the Temple priests.
Would he launch into some of those questions that bothered him? He didn’t want his son to be thought of as a
nuisance. But then, this boy was
different. His determination and
persistence seemed to be leading him to an understanding of Jewish tradition
and law that was different from anything taught by the Rabbis.)
time to leave the holy city of Jerusalem and return to Nazareth, there was much
visiting back and forth among neighbors, and we assumed Jesus was with
friends. But, at the end of the first
day’s journey, Jesus was not to be found with any of them! So, we left our other children with friends
and hurried back to Jerusalem. We were
in a panic! Mary was almost
hysterical! She kept saying that God had
trusted her with His Son, and she lost him! I kept reassuring Mary that the Lord is with
him, while trying to hide my own fears and self-ridicule. I was responsible!
all the places we had been during our visit. The Temple was the last place
with a group of Rabbis. Jesus looked as
though he had completed his Bar Mitzvah training and was giving evidence of
what he had learned. But, the questions
were flowing in both directions! Then,
with a parent’s understandable concern, Mary rebuked him first. She said, “Son, why have you treated us like this?
Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you for days!”
that stunned me! Here came that strange
reply I will never forget. Jesus said,
know that I must be in my Father’s house?”
boy would be a man known as Jeshua, a Hebrew word for Savior, and he would call
God his “Heavenly Father”. This was not the first time that God was
likened to a loving father. But this man, this Jeshua, would call God
“Father” again and again. What a tribute
to a lowly, unknown carpenter named Joseph that his adopted son would perceive
God the Creator, Lord and King as a loving father! Was there an image of God that pre-dated
Joseph? Or was it Joseph, by his
humility, his trust and faithfulness that provided the clue to what God must be
like? It seems, for this very reason, God
chose Joseph to raise His Son!)
offered our gratitude to the Temple Priests for taking caring of our son while
they waited for our return. As we
traveled the day’s journey back to our friends and other children, I spent much
of that time in silent prayer, thanking God and praising Him for keeping Jesus
safe and asking the Lord to help me be the father this boy needed. Most of all, I pondered what to make of this
child. Could it be that Mary and I were,
indeed, raising the promised Messiah?
reintroduced as performers take their bows and exit.)