Day 16 – Joseph

Day 16 – Joseph

Matthew 1:18-25


Oh Love, you have sent me a Joseph!


Each of us needs to find a Joseph, one who will accompany us through this time when we are nurturing that which God is birthing in us (and which we are birthing for God). One who will provide and safeguard, with gentleness, courage, and grace, the sacred space we need in order to trust our blessed becoming. One who will usher us into the heart of God and welcome us into the warmth of Love’s home.


How grateful must Mary have been for this one in her life, who heard the whisper of the angel. This Joseph offered her protection from shame, shielding her from voices that would disgrace her, as she sought to absorb the truth of who was desiring her, and to integrate into her psyche and her body the truth of what she was bearing.


As we begin to embrace and nurture our own internal biddings and buddings, we are quite vulnerable, as are any new shoots, to being trampled. We must seek out that protector within, one who will stand quietly by the gate of our hearts and permit entrance only to those who would support our desire and our growth.


We must remember, these are virginal places, places that have not previously known Love or Love’s desire for us. These places need to be held within the tender heart of God alone. These are sacred places, where we are called to take off our shoes. These are Holy of Holy spaces, where the sacred is to be reverenced behind the curtain.


These are ‘pondering these things in her heart’ spaces.


These virginal spaces could also, as we have learned, be places of perceived or real personal failure, places of sorrow, fear, or pain that are being transformed into blessing. We must take care as they come into the light for healing and blessing to not re-wound. Life shames so many of us, simply for being who we were created to be. These are virginal places, too, blessed by God…. but tainted by man and so perhaps still untouched by Love.


Where is the virginal place in you? Right here and now. Some budding hope or tender desire, some deep longing of the heart that you have decided to attend to at last, something you long to embrace in yourself, some glimmer of hope about who you are (or are not), some enwombing and embracing of your humanity, your calling or gift. It may be some place of innocence, pure goodness and desire, not allowed because the ‘rules’ of the culture say we should look/do/be otherwise. Likely all of these are signs and sacred callings, nudges of the angel, from the One whom we truly desire….


…But you can’t seem to keep the predatory voices at bay. Nor can you prevent those ‘loyal soldiers’ from their attempts at suppressing your growth (so that those same predators of shame can’t find you).


Oh Joseph!, we need you, to come surround our hearts, and create a space for Love to grow. To assure both the One pregnant with Love and those who would seek to protect her with restraint that she is safe. We have heard the whisper of the angel, that we are cherished, that we bear something of God into being, and we yearn to believe it, to trust that we can devote our lives to it with Love’s blessing. We have heard that the fullness of our humanity is acceptable to God. We have heard the whisper in the silence of the night that we are bearing something precious (despite the unforgiving lessons of this life) but in the harsh light of the day and its demand, it can be difficult to trust.


Something else must ‘wake up’ as Joseph, alongside Mary, to trust  in the angel’s command to embrace this part of us and bring it home – to the center of our beings, to the hearth, no longer on the margins of our existence, kicked to the side with its nagging heartache. Our longing for God must be carried to the center of our being, surrounded with gentleness and grace, its vulnerability protected from those who would shame it. Our desire to be, and dwell with, and give birth to Love must be reverenced as vital to our very existence.


Yes.We are talking about boundaries here. Creating a safe, grace-space that does not unduly expose our new vulnerable places to trampling harm, but creates space for them to be nurtured, and keeps weeds (which may be even be ‘good’ plants that simply don’t belong) from crowding out new growth. The loyal soldiers may try to drag us out to take care of everyone else’s needs. Predators of shame may try to draw us out with taunts of ‘not good-enoughness’ or penance. To each of these our Joseph wall says ‘not today’ and our Mary hears that she is safe to embrace the pregnancy (as do the loyal soldiers hear that she is safe).


The truth is that we never stop needing space reserved for God alone, for nurture, for Love making. There is always something new – some new wisdom or understanding, some new healing or anointing, some new pain or passion, some new message from Love — there is always God – that needs our attention.  It takes courage, which literally means “heart’, to protect and nurture these things.


This Joseph, not yet ‘in union’ with Mary, is somehow less vulnerable than She. This beloved one remains unattached enough to be the gatekeeper, not enmeshed in the wounds of either side, and so not as easily wounded by the barrage of condemning voices, but does indeed have true strength of heart. This Joseph-presence is rather like a wall inside the heart, I suppose, it keeps both ‘sides’ in contact with the heart of Love by the strength of its compassionate gaze without entangling and confusing the two.


Until such a time as the child of our union with Love is fully developed enough to emerge from the salt waters of birth, as an Ocean of Love, to embrace and dissolve our fears and our shame, we are protected within the heart of God.  This Child is the one who will at last save us from ourselves and by the power of that Love, we will be made whole. 


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