lessons of christmas: joseph and mary







In the wonderful busyness that surrounds this time of year it is easy to loose sight of the reason behind all the celebration.  The enormous gift of God.  The sacrifice of love.  The importance of those three words: God With Us.  

And so for the days leading up to Christmas, I like to go back to the the original story in the Bible and to try to read it again.  Not as a memorized story, but one that holds new life and meaning.  This year as I have read and reread, I am captivated by Joseph and Mary.  Over and over again the story tells of their obedience resulting from their faith.  

God says. 
And they do.
No hesitation.

I believe God chose them because He knew their character.  He knew their love for Him would outweigh any of their fears.  This calling from God put them on a crazy, wild adventure away from the home they had known.  To Bethlehem where Mary would give birth in a cave with animals then fleeing to Egypt to protect their new son's life then just when they thought they could head back home God led them instead to Nazareth in Galilee.  There is no mention of what others in their family or their town thought of the path they chose to follow.  Knowing human nature, I am sure there were many who thought they were crazy or making poor decisions for themselves.  But God chose not to include any of this in the story because it did, and continues today, not to matter.   Their obedience was not one fueled by religious rules or public opinion, they obedience was the fruit of their faithful love for God.  

They loved God and out of that love naturally came a desire to please and obey Him.  God chose them to be the earthly parents of Jesus,  God wrapped in humanity.  From a worldly view they were the least likely applicants.  They were poor.  They could offer nothing in the way of human luxury and comfort.  They had no voice in their society, no power, no fame.  No reason at all for anyone else to take notice of them.  From the beginning of time people have longed for the notice of their fellow man. Our current society is no different and in fact the longing seems to have reached a stage of panic.  The culture is full of people screaming to others to notice them.  And if we are not intentional in our own lives it is so easy for any of us to get caught up in the frenzy.

The story of Jesus's birth reminds us that God does not work according to the rules of modern culture.  He still desires to change the world through those whom society has deemed a nobody.  It does not matter how many people follow you on instagram or if your latest video went viral.  God is asking for the same thing today as he did 2000 years ago..... people who love Him and whose love compels them to faithful obedience.  

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