Mary, Joseph, and Christmas...
So I have been searching desperately to find the Christmas spirit. Maybe it’s because this year has been so hard, or maybe because I have been going through stuff, I really just wanted a chance to relax. Take a breath. Something. It hasn’t been that this year. It’s all good though. I took some time last week to think about what Christmas really meant for me, and to me, and to hopefully provide some perspective to help me with where I am. I thought about how we take so much time worrying about material possessions that we miss those that we love. I thought about how in a world that seems so dark right now, this season is supposed to be one where we shine a light on the savior who came to be the sacrifice for us. I sat down, and honestly, I got convicted. Who am I to be upset about things I cannot change, and take it out on people that I love? For what? It’s not a thing. So, I talked to God about it, and I asked for him to give me a sign or something of what I needed to do. This past weekend happened, and with that, I got an answer on answer to things that had been thinking about, I got clarity on things that I didn’t understand. I was able to mend a relationship. Those are important things. That’s what Christmas is about. Loving people. Being good to those around. Shining light in dark places. It’s not about decorations (these busy trees aren’t for me anyway lol), spending money that you don’t have, faking the funk for people around. It’s about genuinely caring for others. That’s all. It’s simple.
But that’s not even what I wanted to talk about hahaha.
I was thinking on Christmas the other day, and thinking about the story of the birth of Christ. I thought about it from a human perspective. I think that sometimes as Christians we get so caught up in the story that we make Mary and Joseph out to be these people, with this level of divinity, that they aren’t. Even within the story, I always wonder what it was really like. For example, let’s look at Mary, the mother of Jesus. One day she is living a normal life, about to get married, all that soft stuff. They most likely were still in the engagement phase, which means they are preparing for marriage. In Jewish culture, once two people were engaged, it’s started the betrothal process. There wasn’t any eloping, shotgun weddings, or anything that we have today. There was a 12-month period from engaged to married. So back to the story, imagine when the angel comes to her and says that she is going to have a son. The Bible tells us that she was cool with it (“My soul magnifies the Lord…” Luke 1:46). That’s great. Her obedience is a wonderful thing. But, she is not everyone around her. My assumption is that not everyone around her shared her excitement. They couldn’t understand what was happening with her. Imagine going out, and people seeing her showing, and they all know that she isn’t married. The looks. The whispers. The shade. I couldn’t imagine how hard that could be to deal with. Although she was happy, and excited to be carrying the living, breathing, son of God, I wonder how many others shared her excitement. The Bible tells one account of her cousin Elizabeth, who was carrying a child herself, John. They were excited with her. I wonder how everyone else was. In assuming that there were those that didn’t share her feeling, it’s amazing to me to see her strength at that time. She could’ve said no at any point, but she didn’t. She said yes. Yes to what was asked of her. That’s crazy. She better than me.
Then, here is Joseph. Solid dude, good family (he was from the lineage of King David), hard worker. He loved Mary and wanted to spend all of his days with her. Ready to be her husband, and eventual father of her children. Then she comes to him saying she is pregnant. Wait…what? I have waited all of this time, kept myself pure, done all I was supposed to, and you let some other fool get your pregnant????? Nah, you can miss me with that. Nope. Won’t be me. Even in the midst of what he didn’t understand, he still showed her respect. She could be put to death for having a child out of wedlock. Yet, he still protected her. Being the man that he is, he decided to do it in private. He could have publically shamed her. He would’ve moved on with his life, and Mary would have been forced to deal with the situation on her own. But he didn’t. He stayed. He stayed until the truth was revealed to him.
The worst thing that you can do when you find yourself in a place with someone else where things are a little cloudy is talk about them. In every story, there are 3 sides: yours, theirs, and the truth. It is your best option to be silent, even if you are upset and want to lash out. Immature people talk, all the time. It is not up to you to have to degrade someone else to make you look better. If you are right, the truth will come out. You just have to be patient, and let things happen. Talking about someone, and calling them out of their name makes you look defensive and guilty.
Continued…Joseph, although quietly, was done with it. I am sure he was broken. Even with her telling him that the child conceived was of the holy ghost, he was still going to put her away. That tells me he still didn’t believe her. If he believed her, then he would have never had that conversation. As a man, I would be heartbroken if someone came and said that they were pregnant, and the kid wasn’t mine. Even with all of that going on in his mind, he was still listening for the voice of God. The angel comes to him in his sleep (which was probably rare those days), and told him what the deal was. As soon as he got the confirmation, he said yes. He understood that this was so much bigger than him and that Mary needed a rock to lean on. Putting his pride to the left, he was the man that she needed. He took Mary as his wife, and they were the parents of the God of the universe for 33 years. The rest is history.
Strength. Honesty. Sacrifice. Love. Those are things that make Christmas important to me. The story of Mary and Joseph shows the gospel. Without Jesus, there is no Christmas (or as my man Plies would say, “Ain’t no chrimuh bihhh). We took a pagan holiday and flipped in on itself to make it about the savior coming to earth. That’s cool and all, but think about this…without Christmas, Jesus is still here. The reality is that with no cross, none of this matters. It doesn’t matter how he was born, where he was born if there were 17 cows, 2 sheep, and 4 goats. The thing that matters is that he was born. He is prophesy fulfilled. He is the fullness of the Godhead. He isn’t one of a committee, he is the committee. He is the first, last, and everything in between. It doesn’t matter if it was during the winter, spring, summer or fall, it matters that he came. He came to be the sacrifice for us. He came to show us the way. JESUS is the way. He came to introduce us to himself. That’s what Christmas is about. That’s what Christmas means to me.
So Merry Christmas to everyone who took the time to read this. Enjoy your family and friends. Don’t stress out about what you can’t buy, and do go into debt trying to impress. Think about what Christmas is really about, and share the love. Jesus loved the world so much that he came. All he wants is your heart.