Cold, not just a typical winter night. Bitter cold, gale wind without pause, and snow so thick that only memory led Joseph to the pub. The fireplace was ablaze, and the warmth brought immediate relief to Joseph’s shivering body. The regulars were at the bar. Seated at one end was Rachel and her brother Issac. Samuel, the local butcher, and his wife Muriel were busy talking to Moshe the bartender. Joseph sat on a stool just alongside Samuel, and with his head in his thawing hands, Joseph was gently sobbing.
Moshe: Joseph are you alright?
(no response from Joseph – just muffled sobs)
Moshe: Joseph, Joseph what is the wrong? Why are you crying?
Joseph: (barely audible) He is not mine.
Moshe: What? What did you say?
Joseph: He is not mine.
Rachel: Say Joseph can we buy you a drink?
(no response from Joseph)
Issac: Joseph, what’s up?
Moshe: Joseph, please- please tell me what is the matter?
Joseph: My son….
Moshe: A son. Joseph you have a son!
Issac: A son – did you say a son – you have a son.
(all gather around Joseph)
Muriel: Mazel tov, Joseph. Mazel tov.
Samuel: That is great. Wow, wonderful, wonderful.
Joseph: (shouting) He is not mine.
Moshe: What are you talking about? How is Mary?
Muriel: And the baby, how is the baby?
Joseph: (Plaintively) Please leave me be. My son is not mine – he is not mine!
Moshe: Joseph, you are not making any sense. Mary has given birth to a son. What are you talking about?
Joseph: Mary says that my son is not mine. Do you all hear me? My son is not mine.
(Joseph gets up from the stool and heads toward the door)
Samuel: (grabs Joseph). Stop. Joseph you are not going anywhere. Please tell us what has happened.
Rachel: Yes. We are so thrilled for you and Mary. We don’t understand what you are saying.
Joseph: Mary tells me, not once, but over and over again that my son is not from me – he is not mine.
Moshe: What happened? Why this crazy talk. You are not making any sense.
Joseph: And there are men in the stable, and camels. Big smelly camels, and three men with funny costumes, and weeds or plants that stink. The camels are stomping on our things. I cannot understand what the men are sayings. And Mary greets them as if they were our family. She is acting like they are kings – some kind of royalty.
Samuel: Did they talk to you? Did they introduce themselves?
Muriel: Is Mary save with them? Should we all go to the stable? I am worried for Mary and the baby.
Joseph: Mary says that I could go and not worry cause she was expecting the men. They came from far away, and followed a star to the stable.
Rachel: The more you talk, the crazier it sounds.
Moshe: Joseph I want you to sit down, and let’s go over all that occurred tonight. We are your friends, and we will help you, Mary and your son.
Joseph: Moshe. You do not understand. The boy is not my son. Can’t you understand?
Rachel: Look Joseph. Mary is your wife, right. Mary was pregnant, right. Mary gave birth this night, right.
Muriel: You hear Rachel. Is she correct?
Samuel: Joseph there is no need to talk anymore. We are going to the stable and find out what is happening.
Joseph: We can’t go back. Mary says she is fine. Not just fine, but perfect. She told me to go, and not to worry. She told me that tonight is the most special night for all mankind. She told me that she loves me.
Isaac: Okay, so what is the problem?
Joseph: Isaac what is the problem? Are you serious? How would you feel if your wife told you that your first child – your son was not yours. How would you feel?
Moshe: Joseph, my lovely dear friend Joseph. I feel so bad allowing you to suffer so much. At times my memory fails me. My dear Joseph you have nothing to fear or worry about.
Joseph: (stunned) What are you saying Moshe? What do you mean I have nothing to worry about?
Moshe: Everybody listen up. Our dearest Mary is just depressed. Simply depressed. She means no harm. She is just suffering a POST PARTUM DEPRESSION!
With that pronouncement, all gather together and hoist Joseph on the shoulders of Isaac and Samuel and they joyfully head to the stable.