Before the Manger


Not long before proclaiming
good tidings and peace,
angels overheard Joseph…

What!? This isn’t JOY!
My fiancé is pregnant!
How can this be?

She’s been away, visiting family.
Has Mary betrayed me?
Was it one of the shepherds?

I am afraid I cannot marry, now.
It is my right, by official decree,
to have this woman stoned.

But…she is my love.
I cannot act in haste.
My heart needs time to ponder.

…and stepped in
to explain and confirm
the miracle about to happen.

P. Wanken

Written for The Sunday Whirl, to write a poem using these words: heart, decree, afraid, heard, pondered, joy, angel, peace, haste, manger, shepherds, and tidings. These words were all taken from the story of Jesus’ birth as found in the Bible’s book of Luke. I found it a challenge to come up with any other story than where these words were originally used. So instead of forcing the words into a non-Christmas story, I imagined what it must have been like for Joseph…prior to the manger scene.


  1. I love this poem! The bookending verses could stand on their own, but the middle section – the glimpse at what Joseph had to have been thinking – is a wonderful fleshing out of his story. As for the wordle, the words disappear in the story. Well done. 🙂

    Have a blessed and merry Christmas, my sister!


    1. Thank you so much, Traci. I worked with the wording so the bookending verses would do just that. 🙂 Thanks for your encouragement and kind words.

      Merry Christmas!!


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