[Note: This is the brief drama for lighting the 4th Advent candle at Jerome UMC]
[First 3 Advent candles are lit at the beginning of the service]
Interviewer: Can you feel the anticipation, church, as our extraordinary journey draws so close to the big day? Three candles are already glowing on our Advent Wreath. Along the way we have talked with Zechariah about Hope, with Mary about Faith, and last week with an angel about Joy. On this 4th and final Sunday of Advent our special guest is a carpenter from Nazareth.
[Joseph enters dressed in contemporary work clothes wearing a tool belt, pencil behind his ear]
Interviewer: Thank you for coming to share your story with us, Joseph. How would you describe your experience of the events surrounding Jesus’ birth?
Joseph: My journey began with our prearranged marriage. Our parents certainly picked well for me. Mary was so beautiful and she has such a strong faith. I was truly blessed to have a wife of such noble character. The custom for us is to wait an entire year after we were engaged before the marriage vows are finalized. That year of being apart and waiting seemed like forever. But Mary was worth the wait because I loved her.
Interviewer: But I understand that your waiting turned out to be much harder than you expected.
Joseph: That’s an understatement! There was a night that left me feeling so cold and alone, in total shock. Mary’s news broke my heart when she told me she was pregnant. My head was spinning and my heart pounding. I knew I wasn’t the father? I was so hurt and angry and confused. I wrestled with my decision all night long. How could I marry her now? I wanted to just divorce her quietly. But I knew the punishment for adultery was death by stoning. I couldn’t let that happen to my dear Mary.
Interviewer: What a terrible dilemma! How did you ever decide what to do?
Joseph: The answer came to me in a dream. An angel appeared to me and said, “Joseph, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because the child conceived in her is the result of a miracle performed by the Holy Spirit.” The angel said, “You will name the baby Jesus, because he will save the people from their sins.” When I woke up I knew what I should do. The stars were brighter and my heart lighter as I ran to tell Mary my decision. I decided I would be the best husband and father I could possibly be.
Interviewer: What was the most important thing you learned from this amazing journey?
Joseph: Oh we learned a lot through some very turbulent times. I got another message from God when Jesus was very tiny warning us that Herod was going to kill all the baby boys, and we had to flee to Egypt to save Jesus’ life. Being a father to such an unusual boy wasn’t easy, but through it all God has taught us so much about love – love for each other and God’s love for us and ours for Him. The real miracle was that God’s son became my son too. He was bonded into my life by love.
Interviewer: What an incredible story. [Lighting the 4th candle] As we light this 4th Advent candle, may the love Joseph showed for Jesus grow in each of our hearts as well.