Sunday, December 4, 2016

Joseph Learns Of Mary's Pregnancy (A Snippet From The Hidden Life Of Jesus)

AP: The following is just a sample from my book The Hidden Life of Jesus (Cascade 2016), available here. Notice you can get a copy of the book in hardcover, soft back, or Kindle. Hope you enjoy.

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After six months or so, Joseph concluded his work outside of Nazareth. Mary received him with joy and worry. On the day Joseph returned, she prepared a special meal for him. After setting the table, they sat down, ate, and enjoyed the meal together. Afterwards, Joseph leaned over a small bed that was in the room and looked at Mary. He noted that her face had changed and that she was nervously moving about the room. That prompted him to ask her: “My daughter, what is wrong? I can see that your youthful grace has changed. You seem a little different.” Mary answered: “Why are you asking me such questions? What are you trying to say?” Joseph replied: “That is a strange answer. What is wrong? You seem a little sad. I can see it on your face. Has someone said something to hurt you? Are you upset about something?”

Mary did not immediately respond, so Joseph leaned back in the bed. As he looked at his wife, he realized that she was pregnant. At first he was just thinking maybe it was so, but the more he looked at her the more he was convinced—Mary was definitely pregnant.

Joseph was speechless. He turned away from Mary and went to his room. He was pulling his hair and a thousand questions were running through his mind—a thousand questions, but not one answer. He cursed his old age and the moment that he had accepted this virgin in his home. His head was spinning in circles, trying to think up an explanation and a way that he could escape public ridicule. After all, Mary had only been placed into his care. He could hear them now: “He received the virgin of the temple, and he could not even keep her pure.” Needless to say, he struggled on many fronts. He asked the maidens who always accompanied Mary at home if it was possible that she had been involved with a man. The girls responded in the negative. Some of them even told Joseph how Mary would spend many hours in prayer and how she spoke to angels. They even speculated that the pregnancy could have been due to some angelic intervention. But Joseph replied: “Why are you so set on making me believe that it was an angel who has left her pregnant? Maybe someone pretended to be an angel and has deceived her?” Joseph was hurt, and those thoughts running through his head caused him lots of turmoil and anxiety. He simply did not know what to do. “How can I show my face around the priests?” he asked himself. “What face shall I bring when I come before God? What am I to do?”

Right when it seemed like the best thing he could do was leave Mary and divorce her in private, an angel of God appeared to him in a dream and explained what was happening. When he awoke, Joseph was quiet and resolved to take Mary as his wife. In order to avoid any small-town gossip, he decided to move to Jerusalem for a while. And so they did.

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