Joseph, I need to talk to you.
[Joseph is working at a lathe]
Yes, dear one?
I really need your full attention. This is important, and it’s not easy for me to say.
I’m sorry—just let me finish this last turn.
There, this chair leg is done. I’m listening. What’s going on?
Can we go somewhere and sit down? It would be better if we were sitting.
Sure, love. What is it? You’re making me nervous.
I’m not sure how to tell you this. I’ve been fretting about it for days. I don’t know how to explain what has happened.
What has happened, what do you mean, what has happened?
What has happened?
Well, do you remember about a week ago, when you came to Abba’s house for dinner and I was very quiet? You kept asking me if something was wrong, and I really never answered you. I think you may have gone home in a bit of a huff, feeling ignored.
Yes, I remember. Your whole appearance was a bit—I don’t know—different that day. Really, it has been ever since. You’ve been very quiet. Is everything alright?
Have you ever had an experience with God, you know, like in the scriptures, visitations, angels, anything like that?
No, not really, though there have been times, during my meditations, that I’ve felt the presence of something, God’s Spirit, I suppose you would say. But, I’ve never seen anything, if that’s what you mean.
Yes, that’s what I mean. Well, I saw something the other night.
Really? What was it? Tell me about it.
It was just after my evening prayers about a week ago. I rose to turn down the lamp, when, without warning, what looked like a man appeared in my chamber. He stood, blocking the door, so I backed up as best I could and put my chair between us.
Who was this man? Who would dare enter your chamber?
Wait Joseph, let me finish.
I knew he couldn’t be a man because he—how can I describe him—he was radiant. He could see that his appearance frightened me so he took a step back and then he began to speak.
"Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you."
This began to draw me away from fear and toward confusion. What did mean by “The Lord is with you?” Why would anyone call me “favored?” It was an odd greeting.
“Do not be afraid, Mary;” he continued, “for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus.
Conceive? Bear a son?
Hear me out, Joseph. This visitor continued,
“He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.”
Wait—what are you saying?
Joseph, let me finish. I didn’t understand either. I asked him “How can this be since I am a virgin?” Then the angel said,
"The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.”
[standing] Did this man touch you—violate you?
It wasn’t a man Joseph, it was an angel. Please sit down, Joseph. The same angel that appeared to my uncle Zachariah before Elizabeth conceived.
[still standing] Did this angel violate you?
No, but it did happen just as he said it would. I am with child, Joseph. Somehow God Himself has given me this child?
That’s not how it works, Mary. If you are with child, you know how it happened.
Was it the man who came into your chamber?
Did you know him?
Do I know him?
I could have you stoned! You know that, right?
How could you do this to me—to us?
Why would you throw away our future like this?
Joseph, stop it. [beginning to cry] It’s not like that. I have never known a man in that way. How could you think such a thing?
But, you are with child—pregnant. That’s what you’re telling me? And you’re saying that God made you pregnant without the aid of a man. This is too much to take in.
I love you, Mary, and I will not make a public spectacle of you. But you have disgraced yourself. You have disgraced me—my family—your own family. What am I to do?
Oh Joseph, please believe me.
I cannot believe this. It’s too much, Mary. I’m not sure I could believe it, even if God Himself told me. These things just don’t happen. Not here. Not now.
I won’t shame you. I’ll just get the lawyers to draw up papers of divorce and we’ll be done.
Joseph, no, please.
No Mary, it’s too much.
[Joseph storms out, Mary is left crying, alone.]
To read the original story, see Luke 1:26-55
Copyright - Benjamin Nelson - 2016
For more stories brought to life out of the gospels, grab a copy of my book Encounters With Jesus. It has forty stories that will bring the Bible to life in your mind. You'll see the Lord heal lepers, open blind eyes and rise from the tomb.
This book would make a great Christmas present for someone who wants to get to know Jesus in a fresh way.
Thanks for coming by today.
See you again soon.