Amoeba’s Lorica: Joseph’s Dream (Recalculated For This Meridian)

Apparently, in the desperate search of the Christian churches to find something, anything new to say about the canonical tropes of the Advent season, it has occurred to somebody in the homiletics business to have peeps behind pulpits recount the stories of the major players in the drama in the first person. “What if this was me?” The stories have, naturally, been sanitized to tell the expected message (lest, by varying from them, they incur the wrath of the listening congregations) and exhort said congregations to “go and do likewise”. Your Friendly Neighborhood Amoeba reckons that, if something like this happens to an “ordinary man” in the twenty-first century of the Common Era, the conversation will probably go down [ahem] rather differently.

This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream …

Angel Gabriel (AG): “Ding.”

Joseph: “…zzzzzzwhut?

AG: “Ding.”

J: “…zzzzgkkztWhat the fmmmmfffmmmmmmff!”

AG: “Keep it clean, Joseph son of Heli. This conversation may be recorded for ecclesiastical purposes.”

J: “Oh great. A Mormon in drag. Look, buster, I’m Jewish and plan to stay that way. Besides, Hallowe’en was more than a month ago. We’re out of M&Ms. I might be able to give you something more seasonal.”

AG: “And that would be …?”

J: “A fruitcake!

AG: “I was there when it was made. If you’re trying to scare or insult me, you’re going to have to do better than that. Now settle down and listen, I’ve got news for you.”

J: “About what?”

AG: “About Mary.”

J: “Right. Who else has that little whore been blabbing to?!?”

AG: “Don’t be afraid …”

J: “Afraid hell! I’m pissed! She cheated on me!! And after all this talk about ‘saving herself for marriage’. In this day and age?!? I should have known she was playing the field, and playing me for a fool! It’s all I can do to keep from denouncing her and all of her conniving family in the synagogue, I already look like a big enough idiot without doing that. And on top of that, she told me she’d keep the news quiet! Quiet enough for you to show up, wrecking what little sleep I get these days! I am so done with Mary …!!”

AG: “Mary didn’t cheat on you.”

J: “What, some laboratory freak shot her up with a rejected lot from the sperm bank while she wasn’t paying attention?”

AG: “Her child is of the Holy Spirit.”

J: “And just how do you mix that? Wait, let me guess. Three parts gin, one part vodka, one tablet Rohypnol. Serve while hot.”

AG: “[sigh] Jahweh told me there’d be days like this. Back off, Joe, this is your God’s doing. He has given her, and you, his child.”

J: “Of course he did. Rode into town in the shape of a bull and carried Mary off, did he? Look, whatsyername …”

AG: “I am the Angel Gabriel.”

J: “Fine. Then you might remember this. Didn’t we fight a war to get these ridiculous Greek myths out of our religion?”

AG:Several of them. And you still use the names of the months you inherited from the Babylonians when they overran you. So get over it.”

J: “This is the twenty-first century, dammit! We have science now! Nobody’s going to buy this cockamamie story about a virgin birth!

AG: “Is that so? Do I really have to remind you who you voted in to be the President of the United States? And on what basis?”

J: “The rejection of science, and of evidence? For an angel of the Lord, you can be a real bitch, you know?”

AG: “So ease up on Mary. Marry her and take care of her kid. He’s going to wind up being that Messiah you’ve been waiting for.”

J: “Which I won’t live to see, if you’re going to make me follow this Jesus script. That might be just as well. But tell me something.”

AG: “Yes?”

J: “If you knew all this was going to happen, couldn’t you have told me, like, before she got pregnant, instead of waiting until she was four months along?!? It might have been easier on my blood pressure! Not to mention my bank account, or what’s left of it anyway. Couldn’t you have chosen some chick with a trust fund or something?”

AG: “The will of Jahweh is known only to Jahweh, and is revealed only when Jahweh wills.”

J: “OK, fine. Mary and her brat are safe with me. We’ll come up with some cover story that has a chance of being accepted by our crowd without too much snickering, and we’ll hope that the ob/gyn bills don’t bankrupt us. You good with that?”

AG: “Yes.”

J: “Then go away. Just go away!

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