Advent Week 2: Backwards Wonder

Today, I would like to share one of the Advent Readings from the material I wrote this year. Each day holds imaginary journal entries from Joseph and Mary. We are currently preparing a dramatic reading of this and hope to share it with you this Advent Season. So stay tuned! This will give you a taste of what is coming.

Journal Entry 3: Joseph

Lord, I don’t even know how I am going to tell Mary the news. I have to hurry up before she hears it from someone else. Then I’ll be in for it! Why now? Why do we have to travel now, Lord? Mary is so close to the time of birth. She needs to be here and surrounded by family. She needs her mother. What if something happens? That’s a long way to go on a donkey. How do I trust you with this? I am boxed in. There’s no way out of this except to be strong and I don’t feel especially strong right now.

Journal Entry 7: Mary

I am stunned. Travelling to Bethlehem on a donkey at full term?! You have got to be kidding me. Sigh. I wanted to get more things ready and rest up. I don’t even want to go to the market let alone Bethlehem. Help me with my attitude, Lord. I want to be your servant, that is what I promised when the angel told me you had chosen me for this. I am remembering my father reading the Psalms when I was but a child. When he read Psalm 23 and got to the part where the psalmist says, “Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life,” he paused and looked at me. “Mary,” he said, “In the hardest times, the times when you are confused and difficulty lies ahead of you, look back at God. Look for his goodness and mercy following you. You will see it if you look.” How could I have known how much I would need these wise words from him? I am overwhelmed. Soon I will give birth to Jesus. I have never given birth before but I have been around it and I know it is very hard. And now God is asking me to go to Bethlehem in this state. I can’t know if I will make it back for the birth. Give me this backwards wonder that my father spoke of Lord. Give me eyes to see Your goodness and mercy following my steps.

Journal Entry 8: Mary

What a brutal journey. Every bump and stumble of that donkey hurt another part of my body. I almost had to gag myself to not murmur the whole way about the atrocities of being a woman. Joseph’s poor feet are blistered; he wouldn’t take one turn but insisted I continue on the donkey. I’ve been having pains…I am worried. Tomorrow is the last day of travel and I am just dying to lie down on something softer than the ground. “Hang in there, Mary,” Joseph says. It’s definitely by a thread. I miss our home. God, please help me to still wonder, still be full of wonder…even in this difficult journey.

Journal Entry 4: Joseph

Lord, you have given me an amazing wife, strong and full of faith…honest, but with faith! I agonize for her. The journey is long and hard and I worry it will bring the baby on. I see her face flinching at times and I worry. Please open up a place for us in Bethlehem. It’s going to be crazy busy there. Help me to trust you, help me take care of Mary…and the baby. Oh God, the baby.

Reflection: Where can you relate to Mary in your present life? Is there a difficulty that you are facing that seems in direct conflict with wonder, with trusting? What encourages you through her journal writing? Where do you relate to Joseph? Is there someone in your life for whom the responsibility is heavy right now? What is God’s invitation to you here? How can you hold “backwards wonder” towards God?

Prayer: Write a prayer out of this as if you are Mary or Joseph OR write a prayer out of the reflection questions above as your own self.

Photo by Laura Gariglio-Unsplashed

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