God Is In The Details-Mary and Joseph. Last time we began looking at how God is in the details at Christmas. The Nativity conveys the essence of Christmas. Jesus birth started the celebration of Christmas. We found an angel proclaiming to the shepherds the Good News. Then the heavenly multitude begins singing with joy over the birth of the King.
Next, let’s take a glimpse at Jesus mom, Mary. She is a young woman (possibly 16 years of age) who is pregnant and unmarried. She is pregnant with the Messiah.This situation was viewed differently at that time than it is today. This could be disastrous for her. She is betrothed to Joseph. They did not live together as husband and wife but this is a time of engagement that is as binding as marriage. To break a betrothal by adultery, rape, fornication or incest called for death by stoning.
She had to tell Joseph she is pregnant. He would know he wasn’t the father. She has no alibi because no one is around when Gabriel came to give her the news. Probably the most incredible part is the conception. Who would believe her? Can you just hear the whispers around town when this becomes public? If Joseph abandoned her would she become socially rejected or even cast out of her own home by her father?
“Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus.” Luke 1:30-31
Gabriel tells her she is “favored by God.” That word favored means “to indue with special honor.” I think that statement would give her comfort to know that God has chosen her and that He would be with her through all of this.
Gabriel then tells her more details about her baby. Mary’s response, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” Luke 1:38 She didn’t complain or hesitate to agree. In fact, Mary only asks one question to the angel and that is “how.” When we are put in difficult situations are we as willing as Mary to trust God? Sometimes we miss out on God’s blessings because we don’t look for them in the difficulties of life.
Think about the things Mary endured. She had a stable as a delivery room. King Herod issued a decree to kill all the Jewish baby boys. Mary and her family had to escape to Egypt. When Jesus grew into a man, she had to witness the torture and crucifixion of her Son. But God’s grace enabled her to endure all these hardships.
We don’t know much about Joseph. He was an ordinary guy. He wasn’t wealthy. His occupation was a carpenter. He probably wasn’t all that well known in the community. He is engaged to a poor young woman.
The things we do know about him is he loves Mary because he had no desire to see her publicly humiliated. He trusted God and he is obedient.
“But while he thought about these things, behold and angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which she conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife.” Matthew 1:20, 24
It is interesting to note, Joseph immediately obeys. God’s ways are not our ways. He has a pattern throughout the Bible of choosing the most unlikely person to accomplish a task. God has an extraordinary plan in which he chose ordinary people with an obedient heart. Are we as willing to take that step of faith when a task is put before us? Do we list all the reasons we can’t do it? Do we just try to dodge the job by saying we are not good enough and then tell God who would be better?
God looks for ordinary people to fulfill extraordinary plans. He is looking for good attitudes and obedient hearts. He is looking for those to take that first step of faith even when we don’t see what is ahead.
This Christmas season when you look at Mary and Joseph in the nativity, think about their willingness to be obedient even when the task was hard.
Next time, we will continue to look at God in the details with the shepherds and wise men.