Christmas Eve 2017: What was Joseph doing?

We know what Mary was doing on the night Jesus was born, but what was Joseph doing?

No, I think it most unlikely he would have been helping Mary to give birth. That was a female duty and it is inconceivable that local women would not have rallied round to assist a young woman in labour with her first child, whatever the circumstances.

While the midwives or Joseph's female relatives of Bethlehem supported Mary through labour and the birth of her firstborn son, what did Joseph do? Stay nearby to protect her? Most probably, but it would have been hard to do nothing through the long hours of waiting and wanting do help but feeling helpless.

So, there's plenty of room to imagine what Joseph might have done during the hours of Mary's labour. 

Thanks to Byrony Taylor's post I came across an animated poem by Nick Morgan about how Joseph might have kept busy. It is imaginative, simple and profound. I am grateful to Nick Morgan for giving it a Creative Commons licence so it can be s…


The last word in the Advent Word calendar is 'believe'.

If you google the word 'believe'in a search for images, you will come across a lot of phrases like, 'believe in yourself', 'believe you can do it', 'believe you can succeed'. Many such phrases can be useful, for example in encouraging someone who is lacking in confidence to keep on trying to do something. But they ignore the great need of individuals and communities to believe in something beyond ourselves, to commit to something or someone greater, to turn outwards rather than inwards to our own selfish concerns.

It's the last day of Advent and also this year it is Christmas Eve. Christians are celebrating the birth of a baby something over 2000 years ago. I believe that God gave Jesus out of love for the world and all the people in it. Our family crib scene has a manger in the shape of a cruciform coffin. The baby Jesus lies on that piece of wood, a reminder that Jesus came to give his …


Advent is nearly over. Tomorrow is the 4th Sunday of Advent and also Christmas Eve.

The Advent Word for today is 'Child'.

The reason for the season of Christmas, which begins after dusk on Christmas Eve is the birth of one particular child, born in Bethlehem. So as an image for 'child' I have chosen this image of a painting in the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem, over the underground cave where Jesus is said to have been born.

Here is a verse from the prophet Isaiah, often read in connection with God's gift of Jesus to the world:

"For a child has been born for us,
a son given to us;
authority rests upon his shoulders,
and he is name
Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
Isaiah 9: 6 NRSV
Praise be to God for the gift of this child.

Image Credit: Commons Wikimedia