A Cold Day

The Daily Selectionary

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

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A Cold Day

Christopher Hodges 

 

Matthew 1:18-25

The Birth of Jesus the Messiah

18

 Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah* took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. 20But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.’ 22All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:

23 ‘Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,

   and they shall name him Emmanuel’,

which means, ‘God is with us.’ 24When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, 25but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son;* and he named him Jesus. 

            A man’s wife became pregnant and he had nothing to do with it.  He had never touched her in a way that would allow this to happen; by his own deed, at least.  Before he started to live with her, she told him that she was indeed “with child.”  Imagine someone you know telling you over Starbucks one evening that he had come home and he found his girlfriend sitting in the corner of the room with worry purely engraved onto her face.  He asked her what was wrong, and after some mumbling and biting fear, she whispered that she was pregnant.  And that he knew the child was not his, because he had not once even slept with her.   You would probably look him sternly in the eyes and tell him to do what he had to do:  To leave her!  She obviously cheated.  Kick that girl to the curb.

            But what if he told you that she kept insanely muttering, and swore that she never slept with any man?  You would most likely tell him that this kid was a liar.  Then he told you that she actually believed she was still….a virgin?  She never.  Ever!  And she was absolutely convinced of this.  You would look at him with a genuine love, extend your hand, and tell him that she was…still a liar.  But that he should not rule out complete craziness and she needed to be committed.  Absolutely.

            The scene portrayed in this Gospel is of a story we have heard year after year.  We focus on it constantly during advent as we prepare for our Savior’s first placement on Earth as a boy.  The difference between my scenario and in Matthew’s presentation is that the young girl is really a Virgin.  And she was not at all crazy.  Now Joseph at first, in his logical mind, probably thought she had cheated on him and that for her to say she was still a virgin was a lie or indeed a symptom of insanity.  But the Angel came to him, just as he did to Mary, and explained things to him.  He need not have her killed, or put away, but to embrace her.  For what had happened to her was from God.  And who was inside her body, already on his way, already starting to grow, was God as well. 

            I think that if this happened to me, instead of my thinking that Mary was crazy, it was I who needed to be locked up.  But Joseph accepted this gift, and accepted his girlfriend, and decided to marry her.  On a side note, I think this could also be about forgiveness and acceptance, and the real true longing to keep working on a relationship out of unconditional love.  He respected her and decided to carry on with her.

            I wish I could have been there.  I would like to have known them.  Can you imagine the feelings inside that house?  To know that a friend was about to bring forth the foretold messiah.  What excitement.  What a burden.  Their lives would never be the same.

             

Daily Scripture readings are taken from The Revised Common Lectionary and can be read in full at www.satucket.com/lectionary.  NRSV translation of the Holy Scriptures.  Please feel free to pass along this email to whomever you feel may benefit from it. – Christopher Hodges  2010   email: ChristopherHodgeMusic@gmail.com

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