I have been invited many times to go hear other people sing this song as well. I am especially touched when my children sing it. The first time I was asked to come hear a choir sing it I thought, “Are you kidding? This song is an intimate duet. It will never work with a choir.” But I sat there and wept at how lovely it sounded; at how tenderly the men sang their part; at the emotion flowing from some of the men’s eyes as they sang.
“I want to take care of you,” their eyes said, “but I cannot. Please God, help me take care of her.”
I was touched by the sweetness of the women, offering reassurance… “Joseph, this will do…. It’s even better here because it is pure and free from the touch of human hands….only fresh hay and good clean dirt and the gentle bray of our faithful donkey. Really, it’s fine. Come, help me now.”
I have born four children with my husband at my side. I’ve born them without the aid of pain killers. I have grasped my husband’s hand and felt him clasping mine with all his might, wishing he could infuse his strength into me. Both of us in tears, both of us overcome with the sacredness of the process. Both overwhelmed with the intensity of love that filled that space and time. I cannot recall a moment in my human existence when I have felt more divine as when my firstborn son sprung from within and touched the light of this earth. He bore me into motherhood, as Jesus did Mary.
Joseph and Mary is not the most well-written song. It only has four chords, and they repeat predictably. When I wrote it I had to use a tape recorder to hear what the Joseph part sounded like so the Mary part could overlap pleasingly. (What an interesting experiment that was.) It is not a masterpiece of music composition, or of lyric for that matter. But somehow it touches me, and that’s enough. It draws me closer to Dave every time we sing it. Maybe it’s an example of something being greater than the sum of its parts. Maybe it’s just my heart pretending how Mary might have felt, and how Joseph might have felt, and loving them all the more because I can imagine what they did.
I promise (myself, mostly) to have sheet music for this song available for my Christmas concerts this coming Thanksgiving weekend. (There now…it’s in print…no backing out!) I will thank the Lord if I am blessed, one more year, to have the man I love sing this song with me.
Joseph and Mary
Dear Lord, hear this prayerThe child comes soonShe is tired and readyYet no one has a roomGuide my feet dear GodI have given it my allShe deserves more than I haveShe deserves more than a stall
Joseph, this will doI don’t need a quilted bedJust a gentle word from youAnd a place to lay my headIt is good that we are hereWhere no human hands defiledSmooth the hay and let me lieAnd welcome in the child
Tag: To welcome in the child
You can hear Dave and me singing this song by scrolling down to the music box with songs from the album SLEEPY LITTLE TOWN. Click on the song Joseph and Mary.