Dear Church family,
Less than ten days before Christmas and my mind is on two people: Mary, whose baby’s birth we soon celebrate; and Joseph, who showed such faith in the face of uncertainty. In honor of these two amazing ancestors of our faith here are two poems from Ann Weems’ book Kneeling in Bethlehem, one poem about each of them.

Nazereth girl:
What did you know of ethereal beings
with messages from God?
What did you know of men
when you found yourself with child?
What did you know of babies,
you, barely out of childhood yourself?
God-chosen girl:
What did you know of God
that brought you to this stable
blessed among women?
Could it be that you had been ready
for the footsteps
of an angel?
Could it be there are messages for us
if we have the faith to listen?

Who put Joseph in the back of the stable?
Who dressed him in brown, put a staff in his hand,
and told him to stand in the back of the creche,
background for the magnificent light of the Madonna?

God-chosen, this man Joseph was faithful
in spite of the gossip in Nazareth,
in spite of the danger from Herod.
This man, Joseph, listened to angels
and it was he who named the Child
Is this a man to be stuck for centuries
in the back of the stable?
Actually, Joseph probably stood in the doorway
guarding the mother and child
or greeting shepherds and kings.
When he wasn’t in the doorway,
he was probably urging Mary to get some rest,
gently covering her with his cloak,
assuring her that he would watch the Child.
Actually, he probably picked the Child up in his arms
and walked him in the night,
patting him lovingly
until he closed his eyes.

This Christmas, let us give thanks to God
for this man of incredible faith
into whose care God placed the Christ Child.
As a gesture of gratitude,
let’s put Joseph in the front of the stable
where he can guard and greet
and cast an occasional glance
at this Child
who brought us life.

Christ’s Peace be with you all,

kneeling in bethleham 1