In English we call him Joseph, in Italian he is Giuseppe, in Basque he is Joseba, in Spanish he is just plain Jose.
In English we call her Mary, in Hebrew she is Miryam, in German she is Maria, and also in Spanish.
In English he is Jesus, in Cornish he is Jesu, in Italian he is Gesu, and in Spanish he is Jesus again, but pronounced Hey-sous.
We are going to walk with these three in this sermon for the Christmas season.
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. And all went, every on into his own city. And Jose also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, to be taxed with Maria his espoused wife, being great with child.
Of course that could be written as Joseph and Mary, but surely they are the same couple, in any language. Jose was a carpenter. He built things out of wood to feed his family, and he paid his taxes like everybody else. All the world was to be taxed, and he had to go back to the place from which his people came.
Where would that be? Perhaps a land with cities named Sacramento for the Holy Sacrament, or maybe Atascadero, Alameda, Camarillo, El Segundo, or Escondido. Perhaps cities like Fresno, La Mesa, Madera, or Mariposa show where his people once lived. Certainly they must have lived in cities like Los Angeles, Merced, Paso Robles, Salinas, or San Francisco. Even if his people no longer own the land, certainly the city named after him, San Jose, must once have belonged to his people.
And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
I think Luke shortened this a bit. Was there only one inn in Bethlehem? We can see the young couple, going from place to place, Jose leading, Maria on a burro since she cannot walk so late in her pregnancy. Everywhere they are turned away. Are all the sleeping places truly full? It may be. Or perhaps something about the two of them, perhaps the color of their skin, makes the innkeepers turn them away. Luke does not tell us.
I see migrant housing everywhere I go in California and I think, perhaps, a manger was preferable.
Now they are in a place where their people once lived, but to which they are no longer welcome. And here, their son is born.
Donald Trump would call Him an anchor baby. I wonder what He will call Trump, when they finally meet.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
To all people. ALL people. Imagine that!
Luke’s story is complete, but ours is not. It is up to every one of us to see that it turns out right.