Summary: A Christmas Eve sermon emphasizing the untold story of Joseph - in poetry

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Christmas Eve December 24, 2005 Luke 2: 1-20

Grace be unto you and peace, from God our Father and from our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Let us pray: Dear Heavenly Father, Creator of the universe and author of life on this planet we call earth, we gather in your presence this holy night to lift our hearts in praise and devotion to you for the birth of your Son, Jesus the Christ. Through the power of your Holy Spirit, grant us humble hearts, that we might come to see, cradled in this familiar story of Jesus’ birth, your gift of redeeming grace. Enable us to grow in faith, and to embrace others with the love you have shown us. This we ask, in Jesus name. Amen.

‘Twas through faith, Joseph took Mary to be his bride,

Following the direction, that God did provide,

Assuring him, that this child, which would soon be born,

Should not be a reason, for his betrothed, to scorn.

Thus, this humble carpenter, worked hard to provide,

A small home, in which, the two of them might reside,

In the small town of Nazareth, of Galilee,

While planning for fatherhood, with expectant glee.

But when the birth of Mary’s child, seemed close at hand,

Joseph received word, of the Emperor’s demand,

That all who lived, under Roman occupation,

Must personally enroll, for new taxation.

Joseph was also told, that he had to return,

To the town of his birth, which increased his concern,

Since the decree insisted, he must take his wife,

In spite of the hardship, or the resulting strife.

For the trip to Bethlehem – some seventy miles,

Through narrow mountain roads, and sandy, desert wilds,

Was a difficult trip, for anyone to take –

Even more so, for a pregnant woman, to make.

Though Mary was at full term, and soon to give birth,

To God’s promised child, who’d save his people on earth,

The decree had to be obeyed, there was no choice,

Despite the objections, to which Joseph gave voice.

Thus, we might speculate, that with love and with care,

Joseph packed some belongings, for Mary’s welfare,

To help her cope with the journey’s, many ordeals,

Including food provisions, for several meals.

And though the trip required, that they must travel light,

Joseph packed some blankets, to see them through the night,

And with wine and water, he strapped all to the side,

Of a donkey procured, on which Mary could ride.

Yet I can imagine, there would be one more thing,

That this man of faith, of necessity would bring,

To assist him in prayer, as the day turned to night,

And again, when he rose, to the morn’s dawning light.

It would be his prayer shawl, which he received with joy,

As a gift from his father, when he was a boy,

To assist him with the prayers, he was taught to say,

At the beginning and end, of every day.

For his prayer shawl, which heard, every plea he did enchant;

His prayer shawl, which heard, every sin he did recant,

Was assurance for Joseph, that God would be near,

To assist him in this journey, help ease his fear.

Yes, his prayer shawl would have been, a necessity,

Representing, for Joseph, continuity,

With the faith passed down, to each generation,

Of Israel’s hope in God’s promise, of salvation.

Thus, I can imagine, each morning he awoke,

Joseph put on his prayer shawl, when to God, he spoke,

Prayers of thanks for seeing Mary, through the cold night,

And for walking with them, on this arduous plight.

I can also imagine, that as evening drew near,

Joseph comforting Mary, dispelling her fear,

By holding her tightly, with his shawl o’er his head,

Inviting God’s Spirit, to watch over their bed.

Each morn and each night, Joseph repeated this scene,

Till one quiet dawn, Bethlehem’s gate could be seen,

Down in the valley, less than a half a day’s ride,

Where a warm room for Mary, he longed to provide.

It was then that Joseph, had determined to lead,

Mary and the donkey, with increased speed,

Down the last few miles, of that rugged mountain trail,

Sensing that Mary, would soon enter birth’s travail.

Yet in spite of his efforts, they arrived too late,

To rent a room with a bed, for his cherished mate,

For with haste, others traveled, without as much care,

As Joseph displayed, protecting Mary’s welfare.

Though the rooms had been let, earlier that day,

‘Twas suggested he could make, a bed out of hay,

In the quiet and peace, of an old cattle shed,

Where at least they would have, a dry roof o’er their head.

There, tenderly, Joseph helped Mary to the ground,

And quietly began, to move hay bales around,

Then taking their blankets, he made Mary a bed,

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