By Laju Iren
‘You said what?’
Joe’s mind was in a million places at once.
She couldn’t be!
‘But we haven’t…we haven’t’
He wasn’t a drinking man. The only way he wouldn’t remember his first sexual encounter was if he was dead drunk.
Mae’s big beautiful eyes were filled with tears. Even her soft skin showed distress at the news she just broke.
He would remember that soft skin if he ever came that close.
He was wrong.
Dead drunk wasn’t enough.
He would have to be dead.
There was one other possibility…
One he couldn’t fathom…
No, it couldn’t be.
He must have heard wrongly.
He took a deep breath to clear his head.
She said she wanted to explain
‘Mae, please, explain everything to me. Start from the beginning.’
He listened. She said an Angel had appeared to her. He told her the spirit of God would overshadow her and she would give birth to a son. No man was involved in putting her in the family way. The Holy spirit did it. The child would be the son of God. She was still a virgin. A pregnant virgin.
She stopped speaking. Expecting him to understand.
He understood. He understood quite alright.
His bride to be thought he was stupid.
It was the Jewish way to wait until the wedding night. But the love of his life had cheated on him with someone else. And wanted him to believe that God did it!
Tears flowed freely from his eyes.
This was sweet, innocent Mae. A girl who was too shy to even hold his hand even though it was just a few days to the wedding. Perhaps someone had forced himself on her.
‘You can tell me the truth…’
He was surprised at how calm he sounded.
‘If you do, we can work through this’
‘Joe, I’m not lying.’
She put an arm on his shoulder.
‘The Angel…He said I was blessed and highly…’
This was the first time he did not treasure her touch.
He shrugged almost violently.
‘The wedding is off.’
He walked away. Slowly. Like a man with a broken heart.
‘Guy, what do you mean there is no wedding?’
‘Exactly what I said. The wedding is off.’
His friend was confused.
‘Just yesterday, you were bragging to me that you were finally marrying the most beautiful girl in the world. And today, you are saying the wedding won’t hold. What happened?’
‘Nothing really,” said Joe. “It’s just that Mae and I realised we aren’t compatible and…’
‘You’re lying to me. I can’t believe…’
There was a sudden knock on the front door.
‘Should I get that?’ His friend asked.
‘Please do,’ he replied, burying his hand in his face.
‘We are gonna talk about this!’ He said just before he banged the room door behind him.
‘No, we’re not’
Joseph muttered under his breath. He locked the door swiftly. He would like to be left alone. And man had a right to that after being betrayed by his bride to be.
He did not want his friends or family to make him expose Mary. She had done him wrong alright, but the whole world didn’t have to know about it. He still loved her, and even though she didn’t love him as much, it was his duty to protect her.
Tears came like a torrent, then sleep like a calm evening breeze.
He walked into the temple.
There she was in her wedding garment, facing the priest. The guests were waiting. He felt like the luckiest man alive.
Suddenly, he was beside her. It was time for the marriage vows.
‘I, Joseph, take you…’
He stopped suddenly when he saw her tummy.
He was about to hesitate when someone put his hand on his shoulder. The tallest, most handsome man he had ever seen. He looked like a warrior, especially with those wings of his.
‘Don’t call off the wedding. Mary wasn’t lying. The child in her womb is the messiah. The son of God. You get to be his earthly dad. It should be an honour.’
Joe woke up suddenly to the sound of loud knocking on the door.
He rushed to open It.
It was his brother.
‘Bro, I came to drop the wedding garments when Lucas told me you said the wedding was off.’
Lucas was confused.
‘If you won’t tell me, at least tell your brother what happened.’
Let me see the garments.
His brother pointed to where he had placed them.
Joe was ecstatic.
‘These are so beautiful. And they look just like the one in the dream’
The two other guys looked at him like he was mad.!
‘Please talk to us,’ his brother said ‘why do you want to call off the wedding?’
‘Oh, I was just messing with Lucas. Who calls off a wedding to the most beautiful girl in the world? I’ll take this to Mary.”
It had been an incredible night.
There was a time when Joseph thought it couldn’t get any worse.
Thanks to the Roman government, he had to make such a long journey with his heavily pregnant wife. Then she went into labour just as they entered Bethlehem, and there was a no place to stay. Eventually they found a farmer who let them stay at his stable. Thankfully his wife was a mid wife who offered to help deliver the baby.
Now as he watched Mae nurse the little baby boy, Joe’s heart found rest. He was here at last. The night couldn’t get any better.
‘Oh God, thank you for choosing us.’
The farmer knocked on the stable doors.
‘There are some men outside who want to see the baby.’
Mary blushed. ‘It must have been all my screaming that attracted them.’
‘No, they said a star led them here.’
Under normal circumstances, Joe would have wanted Mae to rest. But there was nothing normal about this. They did not just birth an ordinary child.
He looked at Mae. She nodded in affirmation.
‘Let them in’ he said.
That would be the messiah’s job; to let in all the people in the world and give them access to God.
Joseph is a guy that is altogether worthy of emulation. You can’t blame him if he didn’t want to marry Mary when he first heard. Such a thing had never happened before. I mean even before the Angel appeared to him, he wanted to do the noble thing. That’s a great lesson to learn. As a guy, it’s your responsibility to protect your woman, even when she is wrong. Your friends and family don’t have to be privy to her weaknesses, how much more strangers on social media?
Secondly, Joseph’s story speaks to the premarital chastity that God desires for his children whether they are guys or ladies. Today, even some Christian guys are ashamed to say that they are virgins or that despite their past, they are keeping themselves for marriage. That shouldn’t be. Your loyalty should be to God first and foremost. Besides, any adult man can have sex, it takes a disciplined one to wait.
Another thing we can learn from Joseph is the fact that scripture records him as a present father and husband who cared for his family. Guys, that’s more than silver or gold.
Finally, I especially love the fact that Joseph chose God’s word above all else. He didn’t wonder about the societal stigma if people found that Mary was pregnant. He cared about what the Angel of God told him and followed through with it.
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