Monday, December 19, 2016

our-giftShe was a young girl, not yet out of her teenage years.  She had something she needed to tell her parents, but wasn’t sure how.  She had recently received information that would trouble anyone her age.  It would certainly disturb the parents, grandparents, and the extended family.  Neighbors would whisper.  Insults would be hurled.  Eyes would mock and accuse.  Friends would shun, strangers would disapprove, and tongues would wag.

Who would believe her?  Her family would lose their honor.  Her explanation would be laughed at, ridiculed, and lied about.  She had been promised to an older man in marriage.  What would he think?  What would he do?  Right now no one would know, but time would produce questions, rumor mills would explode, accusations would live, and daily activities would become oppressive.  She was pregnant (Matthew 1:18, 20b; Luke 2:10-18)!

In her culture, since she was promised, it was closer to being married than in our society.  Even if her future husband accepted her and the baby, it would not be his.  A stain would remain on her, her husband, and the child developing inside her.  What if her parents denounced her?  What if this man who was to become her husband did?  Would society deal with her according to the law?  Even if she wasn’t punished, what lies would follow her and her son?  How would they be treated by other women at the market?  How would other children treat her son?  Who would actually believe the real story?  Who would tie her pregnancy to a prophesy made over seven hundred years ago (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23)?

Her future husband should have put her away privately.  He didn’t.  She and her family should have been dishonored.  They weren’t.  Worse case scenario, she could have been punished by stoning.  It never happened.  Those who hated her son did circulate lies about his birth and who the father may have been.  They did the same concerning the empty tomb (Matthew 28:11-15).  Grave robbers would be more believable than a resurrection!

Mary may have had concerns, but we still admire her faith (Luke 1:29).  There are times when she may have “wondered” but she kept all those events in her heart (Luke 2:19, 33, 51).  Roman soldiers, a hostile crowd, hate filled pious leaders, and frightened disciples could not keep her away from the place of the skull.  She was there.  She watched as He fulfilled prophesy.  She watched as His blood was shed.  She watched as He became her sin sacrifice as well as ours!

Aren’t you extremely happy and grateful that He was born?  Aren’t you thankful for her steadfastness in spite of all that could have happened to her, but didn’t?  The angels sang.  Shepherds left their flocks.  Magi traveled and contributed.  Joseph completed the marriage.  Jesus was born.  You and I benefited!