He was probably looking forward to marrying her. No one knows if Mary was beautiful, but there must have been something special about her to be the son of God’s mother. How long had their wedding plans been in place before he found out she was pregnant? Did she tell him? Did her parents tell him? Or was it just town news?
Joseph’s story called out to me from Matthew 1; there is so little about him, but the little speaks of greatness. Taking a pregnant bride would have been a blow to his ego, his reputation and could not have been an easy way to begin a marriage. I’ve heard that Mary was in her mid-teens when she had Jesus. I’m not sure how a teenager copes with pregnancy hormones or how her new husband did it.
The first candle of the wreath is called the hope candle, and I can’t imagine how Joseph made it through those nine months and the years after without a solid hope in what is real. Hope that he really heard from God. Hope that his wife wasn’t pregnant with another man’s baby. Hope that they could afford the trip to Bethlehem. Hope that she wouldn’t go into labor on a mountainside.
Hope that the babe was the real Messiah.
I wanted to create a meal out of the emotions I felt for each week of Advent. For this first week, the meal is inspired by Joseph, his simple trust and humble beginnings. This is a lamb stew with hummus and a loaf of bread. I tried to imagine what a poor carpenter in Israel would eat, and this is far from it with my garam masala and can of tomatoes (would tomatoes have grown in Israel back then?). But the point is that it is simple using one or two key ingredients that would have been available at the time.
- Joseph’s Stew chop lamb into cubes, sautee in some onion and garlic, add a small can of tomatoes and more water (so that it is covered), add some spices – I chose garam masala and some cumin. I also added a cube of beef bouillon. Let it simmer on low heat for a while until the sauce thickens slightly and the meat is tender.
- Hummus drain a can of chickpeas and rinse. Blend in a food processor with garlic, olive oil, cumin, salt and lemon juice. I didn’t have tahini paste, but it still tasted great and was a good consistency.