As usual, the frenzied shopping and all things North American Christmassy is of little interest to me…though I’ll admit I want to hopefully find some good Boxing Day deals afterwards. What I’ve been thinking of this season are the key characters in the Christmas Story: Mary and Joseph
Mary…a teenager, betrothed (which is a mix between engaged and married such that you don’t live with your betrothed but you need a divorce to call off the wedding) to Joseph, gets a visit from the angel Gabriel and is told she’s pregnant by the Spirit of God and her son will be the Savior of the World. Don’t know about you…but that’s kind of a lot to take in. I’d have some questions…like, can you tell my Dad and fiance what you told me? Because it’s hard to see how this will go down well when they find out I’m carrying someone else’s baby…out of wedlock. In a strict and highly religious community. But no, Mary’s reply to the angel is “May it be done to me as you have said.” What. Incredible. Faith. So calm!
Joseph…a young carpenter, probably just building his trade and business. As a religious man, if you found out your betrothed is pregnant by someone else, you have the right to bring her out to be publicly stoned to death for adultery or at the very least, a large dose of public humiliation and divorce. But he was also a righteous man who didn’t want to subject Mary to public disgrace so he thought to divorce her quietly. Then the angel told him in a dream to not be afraid to take Mary has his wife. And so….he takes her as his wife…even though in the community, they’d very likely be subject to gossip and ridicule. Maybe it’ll even hurt his business. It’ll definitely affect his social standing. But he wasn’t afraid. What courage!
We have the faith of Mary. The courage of Joseph. And overall, the obedience of both. They both have a deep trust in God and are willing to lay aside any personal pride to submit to His calling. No wonder God chose them. And to be entrusted with the raising up of Jesus, their own eventual Messiah? Wow….hard to wrap the head around what an incredible experience and privilege that is!
I hope and pray for myself and everyone around me that we’ll grow in faith, courage and obedience this season and into the New Year. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!