Summary: A one act monologue, in which Joseph the carpenter tells his side of the story about Mary’s pregnancy with our Lord, Jesus Christ. He talks about his feelings and how he decides not to divorce her.
Style: Dramatic. Duration: 5min.
Scriptures: Matthew 1: 18 - 24, Luke 1: 26 - 56.
I’ve just heard about some census that Caesar’s apparently ordered to be taken, have you heard anything about it, too? It seems that everyone’s got to go back to where they were born for it. That’s all right for you, you were born near here so you’ve only got to go in to town to register. I’ve got to traipse all the way up to Bethlehem to be counted. I’m not looking forward to the journey I can tell you, what with that stubborn old donkey we’ve got and one thing and another. D’you think I should get a younger one, for Mary to ride since she’s due to have the little’un soon.
You wouldn’t believe the trouble we’ve had since she fell for the babe; word got round so fast that I’m not the Dad, it’s unbelievable. It’s true enough of course, but come on, in these times why does everyone need to make such a fuss about it. It’s not like she’s a single mum living off charity. Mind you we’ve both had a pretty hard time about it. It might be good to get away for a while.
The story she told me about how she got pregnant took some believing. Apparently, this weird stranger showed up one evening. Just (snaps fingers) and there he was standing right in front of her, by the cooking fire. It would’ve served him right if his robe had caught light. You know, just between you and me, I’ve a sneaking suspicion she might have fancied him... just a little bit.
I met him, too, you know, later on, at least I think I did; he didn’t exactly introduce himself properly. Mary said that he was called Gabriel and he’d told her to call him Gabe for short. He’s some kind of Holy Postman it seems, travelling all over and delivering messages for his guv’ner. He’s got some quite novel delivery techniques, so you tend not to forget what he says.
At supper the night Mary met him, not that I knew the whole story then, she did seem a bit … distracted and her eyes were a bit red and puffy. I think she might’ve been crying but I didn’t say anything; I think she was hoping I wouldn’t notice.
Anyway shortly after Mary met this Gabe, she goes gallivanting off to visit her relative up Judea way, Elizabeth. She’s been seedless for years but Mary says she’d got wind that Lizzy and Zec are going to beget a little addition. Says she can go up and help so they don’t need to stump up for a midwife. Who’s going to be Mary’s midwife, that’s what I want to know.
So anyway, a couple of days later she traipses off to see Liz and I’m back to cooking for me-self again. Still it wasn’t all bad, no one to nag me when I’m a bit late coming home from making a delivery, and maybe dropping into the inn on the way. And I managed to finish off all sorts of jobs that had been hanging around for a while. Got them all delivered and tucked away a nice tidy sum. We’ll probably need it too, for that trip to Bethlehem.
She was gone for months you know, visiting with Liz & Zec. Heaven knows what she was doing up there all that time. I know she likes to chat but they must’ve run out of things to talk about long before Lizzy’s baby came along.
I did have a very odd experience whilst she was gone though. This is where Gabe comes in. I had a dream one night; as it turned out, the night before Mary came home. I say dream but it seemed so real, I can remember the whole thing, as clearly as I see you now. I reckon the guy that bent my ear in the dream was this Gabe character, the bloke Mary later said she’d met a few months before I did.
I'm pretty sure it was just a dream but didn’t he go on. Look after Mary, he says. Don’t chuck her out, he says. Everything’s going to be ok, he says. That wasn’t so bad, I mean I can give as good as I get when someone takes that attitude with me, but this time all I could do was stand there gaping while my jaw hits the floor, coz the first thing he'd said to me is that Mary’s going to have a kid. A kid that wasn’t even mine. It’s no wonder she skipped off to see Liz up in Judea for months. Of course it’d have been better if she’d told me herself she was in the pudd’n club, instead of letting me find out from some dodgy travelling delivery boy I’d never seen before.
Well that might have been a dream, but I woke up as soon as he went and hardly slept for the rest of the night, what with all that stuff going round and round in my head; well, would you? I’d never had such a headache as the next morning, at least not without having had the pleasure of a few wines the night before.
I went into the workshop like usual in the morning but I couldn’t concentrate on me carpentry. In the end I just went out for a walk. I must’ve gone for miles that day, mostly without really paying much attention to where I was going.
When it got too hot around mid day, I managed to find a shady spot to sit in for a while and then I fell asleep. By the time I woke the sun was already going down. Although there wasn’t really too much hurry to get home while Mary was away, I still needed to see where I was going and avoid the potholes. By the time I got back I’d pretty much decided what I was going to do. My first thought was obviously to divorce her. Well not actually divorce, we weren’t actually married, just betrothed, but you get what I mean. I know what the messenger had said but he wasn’t the one going to be bringing up someone else’s child. By the time I got back home, I had it all planned what I was going to say to Mary, when she got back from her cousin’s.
By the time I did get home home that night it was already dark and though I couldn’t see much, there was no lamp lit at home. I knew the house wasn’t empty, Mary had come back. She was asleep when I went in, and I did wonder why she hadn’t waited up for me. I lit the lamp and she still didn’t wake, then I realised how tired she must be after walking all day, especially carrying the babe the guy in my dream had told me about.
I sat there for the rest of the night just watching her in silence and in the flickering lamplight. She didn’t wake until first light. When she stirred I was ready with the words I’d practiced in my head for hours, except they wouldn’t come. I couldn’t make myself say them. As I looked into Mary’s face, her eyes, I knew I couldn’t leave her. I knew everyone else would think I should but I also knew I couldn’t; she needed me. Then I realised something else too; something the guy in my dream had been trying to tell me, but I hadn’t seen it till now. Yes, she needed me but as much as she needed me, so did I need her.
Oh, look at the time, I’d better get back or she’ll kill me. I’ll catch you later, sorry for bending your ear like that but I had to talk to someone.
Copyright © 2013 Jim Bradshaw. All rights reserved.
This script is free to use without royalty payment by any non-profit or Christian organisation for non-profit purposes. It shall not be used or performed to generate profit without the written permission of the author.