From the District Office

A Poem for Joseph

Come take in the sounds, take in the sights, exit the darkness and enter the light

of candles and organ, of pipe and of lyre, the faces around us all lit by the fire.

Come hear words and hear music from so long ago, where heaven above touches Bethlehem low

The God of creation in all of God’s glory revealed in a child’s familiar story.

So gather, God’s children, so gather God’s friends. So gather all young ones, all women and men.

The season now started, celebration begun, to retell the story— the birth of God’s Son!

Remember the town, remember that night, remember the shepherds who felt such a fright

Remember the angels, remember the inn, remember the beasts, remember their din.

Remember the mother, remember the One, the child they would call the carpenter’s son

Remember the father so trusting and true, for upon this night, I say unto you

That my name is Joseph, and all that I know, is cutting and building, my life’s work to show

The hammer, the nail, the lathe, and the plane, the saw, the sandpaper, the plumb, and the pain

of backbreaking labor, each day after day, betrothed to a maiden so young yet so fey

who said to me “Lover, although it’s not time, I am with child, this blessing is mine.

“Don’t leave me, dear lover; O please understand, this child of my womb is the child of no man

this flesh of my flesh, yes, be it quite odd is the hope of the world, it’s the flesh of my God.”

Startled, bewildered, what would they say? Should I make a vow, to put her away?

To turn from the promise to make her my wife; the shunning, the stares, to save her own life?

The people will point and the people will talk, this love of my life, the people will mock

This is the best thing to do, it would seem, then one night an angel appeared in a dream.

“Fear not, dear Joseph, be not afraid! For this is God’s son, his people to save!

Hold fast to Mary, by your own accord, Hold fast to this promise! Hold fast to your Lord.”

I awoke from this dream. “I will do what you say!” Through rumor, through whispers, we both will obey.

Though no one could ever understand what I mean: The things I have known, the things I have seen

all point to a savior, our God in the flesh; redemption, salvation, for all who confess.

Dear Mary, beloved, through all of this strife, I will stand beside you, and make you my wife

I will remember the things I’ve been shown. I will raise this infant, like he was my own.

Through all that may happen, I’ll stand by his side. For my name is Joseph, which means “God will provide.”

God will provide, and our God will lead, with steadfast love for all who believe.

For all who believe, who cling to this Son, there’s new hope, salvation, and life just begun.

With all that I wish for, with all that I am, I will stand beside you, I will be that man

Though be it unusual, though be it quite odd, I’ll be the adoptive father of God.

We gather this evening, we gather as friends, with visions of heaven and world without end.

The birth of our God, of flesh and of bone, and the promise that we are never alone.

We gather together on this Christmas Eve, a witness of hope for all who believe.

Our Lord is the savior who without constraints, is the promised messiah of unlikely saints

Unlikely saints, I tell you it’s true, for our God calls people like me and like you.

So go shine your candle, go share your light, be hopeful and gracious and loving and bright

May the good news of our savior’s birth resound through the nations and fill all the earth.

Posted: 15 December, 2022