READ : Matthew 1:18-25
Welcoming the Lord of Love
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. (v. 18 NRSV)
Imagine Mary and Joseph explaining it to their parents: “Mom, Dad, don’t get mad, but . . . Mary’s pregnant. It’s not what you think! The baby’s not Joseph’s, and he’s not anyone else’s either. Well, not anyone human, anyway.” It was an awkward situation, to say the least. Their story seemed far-fetched, and Mary and Joseph could expect lots of lingering stares and whispered judgments from their neighbors.
No one could blame Joseph for wanting to avoid those stares and that judgment. His plan to “divorce her quietly” could have saved them—at least, saved him—the public disgrace. But instead of choosing the easy way out, Joseph trusted God’s message that came in a dream and courageously went ahead with the marriage.
Many of us treasure Christmas because we gather with our families then. Yet for some, family gatherings bring some awkward moments and judgmental stares. The Lord of Love, who was born into an awkward situation, still comes to bring love, if we’re courageous enough to welcome him.
Reflect on what you expect to experience in your Christmas gatherings this year. Ask yourself if you will contribute to any awkward moments. Call to mind those you tend to judge. Acknowledge when you are tempted to use unkind words. It’s easy to fall into old patterns with family. Can you change your behavior this year to welcome the Lord of Love?
Help me love as you love, Lord. Amen.