Joseph Dreams by Jan Richardson

Joseph Dreams by Jan Richardson

Fifteen adults and eight children gathered on Sunday evening for The Advent Table.  We began with a simple meal and then moved to the sanctuary for a time of reflection and sharing rooted in Joseph’s story found in Matthew 1:18-25..

So often the Christmas story is sterilized into simple greeting card slogans.  Happy Holidays.  Merry Christmas.  Joy to the World.

Joseph’s story urges us deeper.  He learns his young fiance is expecting a child not his own, “being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, [he] planned to dismiss her quietly” (Matthew 1.19).  An angel appears to Joseph in a dream and directs him otherwise.

Jan Richardson writes, “Mary’s Magnificat echoes in Joseph’s life.  Her song of the surprising God resounds in Joseph’s choice to attend to the dream in which the angel urges him not to send away his pregnant fiance but rather to cast his lot with her and with the child she will bear…In choosing Mary and her child, in welcoming the Word into his life, Joseph had his own threshold to cross, his own radical yes to say to God.  Perhaps on the night of Jesus’ birth Joseph lifted up a father’s Magnificat in syllables lost to us… (The Luminous Word, 11-12).

Joseph chose to journey with Mary and the Word being born within her.  They companioned one another into the unknown.  They risked public shame.  Acknowledged a lack of control.  Said yes to God’s ultimate movement amidst their most ordinary of lives.

I wonder what conversations took place between Mary and Joseph?  I wonder what fears arose?  What truths were shared?  What tears were shed?

After reflecting on the radical companionship shared by Mary and Joseph, we made our way into small groups to share in response to the question at the heart of the early Methodist movement:  How is it with your soul?

Imagine how Joseph might have responded before the visit by the angel.  Imagine what Mary and Joseph might have shared in their day.

The Advent Table will turn to the story of the Magi this coming Sunday as we step closer to the radical, upside down message of God’s birth in the form of a vulnerable, wordless child.

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