Tuesday, December 13, 2016

A Place For Mystery

It's Tuesday, Day 17 in the Third Week of Advent.  The story of the first Advent is full of "impossible "things...if you believe in the impossible.   Zechariah and Elizabeth "can't" bear children.  Mary is a Virgin.  Angelic visits tell them both that the impossible is about to happen.

The person who cannot believe the impossible sits in a quiet place wondering what to do.  Joseph is pledged to be married to Mary...but Mary is pregnant, and they are not yet married.

Matthew 1:18-19
18  This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.
19  Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

Who is Joseph... He is first of all "a righteous man".  In our present day culture that is usually said of those who think they are better than others.  It's not a phrase for a Godly person, it's a negative comment of those who are pride filled and aloof.  This is not Joseph...he is not "self-righteous", but a man who cares deeply about God, His word, and His ways.  He wants to be obedient to God.

So, Joseph makes a humble, and yet obedient decision (as far as he knows)...he decides to divorce Mary.  That's confusing for us in our present day...they are not yet married and he is going to "divorce" her?  Yes.  A man and a woman "pledged" to be married in that time were legally, religiously considered married...all that remained to do was a formal ceremony and the consummation of their marriage...and that now could not happen.  Joseph does not want to hurt Mary, but he also was not going to do what he considered to be dis-obedient.
Joseph is a "righteous" man...and look at what he does.  He decides to obey God, and exercise mercy.  Those are great character qualities we would be well to emulate.

Then a place for mystery appears.

Matthew 1:20-21
20  But after he had considered 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 home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
21  She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." 

He "considers this"... not after the Angel came, but before the Angel's visit.  It is intriguing, and makes me wonder.  Do we prepare ourselves for God to talk to us by "considering" our events in light of God?  He is wondering what is going on...it doesn't add up.  Mary is not that kind of person, and she says the impossible has happened...an Angel telling her she is going to get pregnant by the Holy Spirit of God?...how can it be?  He is pondering, considering, thinking, meditating, musing...

What is happening to Joseph is a place of mystery is entering into his heart, mind and soul.  While all things don't make sense, still... AND THEN, it happens.  He sees the Angel in a dream...and the mystery becomes reality.  What was impossible, crazy and beyond reason all of a sudden becomes possible, reasonable and understandable.
His fears are turned into faith, and his mind is filled with joy...it's all good...because it's all God.

What I am thinking is simple:  Do we have a place for mystery?  Do we have a place where the impossible can become possible?
C.S. Lewis once said, "Perfect humility dispenses with modesty".

Joseph is my Advent hero...quiet, unassuming, humble, willing to embrace what others will not understand.  Advent means we wait, prayerfully, quietly, willingly asking to have the reality of "God With Us" - Immanuel - to be real in us.


No comments: