Monday, December 18, 2006

Monday's Meditation

I'd like you to imagine for a moment that you are a young man who is engaged to be married. You are held in high regard by those in your community and are generally a good guy.

One evening, you and your fiance are out on a walk and you pause under the crescent moon, take her in your arms, and while you hold her there in that perfect moment, waves of blessedness wash over you. But, there's something different this time, something not quite right about the way she feels against you. You pull away from her, place your right hand on her belly and feel that it is slightly mounded. She looks away from you and shame pales her face. You ask what is going on, but she turns to leave. You pursue her, one thing leads to another, and she tells you that she is four months pregnant. The waves of blessedness recede, the tide turns, and your soul is left cold and bare like an empty beach. "Who?" you ask. "I don't know... I don't know how," she responds and runs off into the night.

How would it feel to be Joseph, the husband of Mary, standing there that night, after learning that the woman you are to marry is pregnant and the child is not your own? This is the woman you are to marry, but she is, evidently, in love with someone else. She is not the person you thought her to be and the love you had for her has now been replaced with emptiness. How would it feel to be so completely and utterly rejected by someone you love?

Yet, that emptiness is not the end of the story - Mary and Joseph do not live a life of quiet disconnect. We are told the rest of the story in Matthew 1:18-25. Joseph considers leaving Mary, but an Angel of the LORD appears to Joseph and says, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, for what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit," (vs. 20). Grace enters in, Joseph trusts the LORD his God, and takes Mary to be his wife.

I have been thinking lately about the ministry of reconciliation that Paul talks about in 2Cor. 5 - that Christ came to reconcile humanity to God and humanity to one another. Joseph's role in the Christmas story is many things, but to me, it is the story of God's desire for us to be reconciled to one another. It seems that we in the Church spend so much of our time trying to prove that we are right - leaving our pregnant fiance, so to speak, so that we are well thought of.

Dear God, as we celebrate the advent of your son, let us remember that Christ came to reconcile humanity to yourself, and left us with that same ministry.