A Different Nativity

December 20, 2022

By Gina Padilla

I have a confession to make. I do not like winter or cold or snow, but I love this time of year.

I love Christmas music on the radio, the glow of twinkling lights brightening a dark winter’s night and viewing all the different nativity scenes adorning homes and churches.  

Mary and Joseph always look beatific as they gaze down at their Savior, not a hair out of place or any indications that a birth just took place. As I think about that night, a different picture forms in my mind. I see two young newlyweds who’ve just welcomed their first son. After confirming the child is well, Mary falls asleep, exhausted and Joseph spends a few moments alone with his baby.

Unlock your imagination as I take some creative license and explore what Joseph might have been feeling on the night our Savior entered the world. 

Joseph glanced at Mary who was finally asleep. He stood up looking at the child in his arms and gently rocked him as he had seen Mary do. The child looked around, stared at Joseph, and then slowly closed his eyes. 

“Oh, so you do need to sleep, Little One. I wasn’t sure if you would.” He walked around the stable keeping an eye on Mary as he did. “Well, I’m your abba, your father. Well, not really, Adonai is your father, but I am your father down here. I will protect you and teach you —” 

Joseph stopped. “Wait a minute, am I going to be able to teach you anything? Do you even need my protection? I should have asked that angel more questions.” He walked over to his wife, who was still sleeping peacefully, kissed her on the forehead and walked out into the cool night air. 

“Well, Little One, I’ve got to be honest, I’ve never been an abba before. I’ve barely been a husband, but you know that. Your timing for that left a lot to be desired. There are still some that will not speak to us or have us under their roof. I’ve lost several clients, but we’ll manage. You don’t have to worry Little One.”

Joseph glanced down surprised to see the baby, eyes open staring intently up at him. “Did I wake you with my babbling, Little One? Do you actually understand what I am saying? Oh, my goodness, of course you understand what I am saying! I’m sorry. I was just kidding about the timing thing. I wasn’t complaining about losing the clients, honestly, it’s probably for the best. They were hard to please. If it didn’t sound like it before, I’m honored to be your abba, I just feel unprepared. I pray that you’ll have patience with me.” He smiled at the baby and could almost swear that the baby smiled back. “My first baby. . . it’s only the Messiah, but you know – no pressure!” 

 “I’m sorry, but I must ask you. Why me? I understand why you would pick Mary – she’s so gentle, so lovely, so graceful – of course she would be chosen.” Joseph sighed. “I love your mother. I’ve loved her for a long time. When her father proposed the match, I was thrilled. I knew I was getting the better deal. At our betrothal dinner, I couldn’t talk or eat or anything. I was so nervous! I thought for sure your mother was going to call it off, but she just smiled, put her hand on mine and I never wanted to be without her. You know, I never wanted to divorce her, even before I knew the truth. I was hurt, so hurt, but I still wanted to be with her. When I came to tell her about the dream I had, her smile lit up the room. When your mother smiles there’s no other feeling like that in the world! I think she will be smiling at you a lot, Little One.” 

The two sat in silence for a while. “So, picking her to fulfill Isaiah’s prophecy I understand, but me? Why? What can I offer you? I am not an expert in Torah. I am a simple carpenter. I can’t wait to show you, Little One. We will build together – wait what am I saying? I doubt the Messiah will be concerned about carpentry.”

Tears welled in his eyes. He glanced down at the baby who was watching him intently. Suddenly Joseph felt a calm fill his entire body. He sniffed and blinked back tears. “You are going to do strange and wonderful things, aren’t you? I can’t wait to see all of it. You will be teaching us so much, won’t you? I hope that you let us teach you a few things. If not, that’s OK too. But I must know and I’m sorry if this sounds vain, but will you look anything like me – even a little?” The baby continued gazing at him and sneezed. “Let’s get you back inside and check on your mother, Little One.”

He walked into the stable, just as Mary was getting up. “Don’t move Mary, what do you need?” He asked as he laid the baby down in the manger.

“Just some water, Joseph.” He hurried to the bucket and brought it to her. She took a drink then tucked the baby’s swaddling clothes around him. “So, what have you two been doing?” Mary asked.

“Just getting acquainted,” Joseph answered, gazing down at the baby who had closed his eyes. “You know this is going to sound crazy, but I think he’s got my nose.”

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’ Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.’”

Luke 2:8-14 NIV

Photo Credit: Al Elmes

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