“Joseph, I have something to tell you.” One could greatly speculate on the thoughts and conversations that took place beginning with the choosing of a pure but common teenage girl who as a virgin would conceive and become Mother of the Messiah of Israel and the Rescuer of all mankind.
Whatever possessed her to think that anyone would believe her story? She was just a virgin visited privately by an angel who announced the Holy Spirit would “come upon you” and the power of the Most High will cause her to become pregnant. Joseph was no fool. He knew the “way of the world.” Joseph may not have even touched Mary’s hand and now his imagination runs like a sadistic ogre with thoughts of Mary’s betrayal. Of all the girls Joseph knew, she was most trusted and would be the last one he would have thought would fall in the arms of some secret lover. What made Mary even think that her relative, Elizabeth, would understand such things?
Perhaps priestly Zechariah, having challenges of his own comprehending a now miraculously pregnant wife who was “well along in years,” could within his own angelic imposed silence reassure Mary with a torn parchment of Isaiah 7:14 which says “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son and will call him Jesus.” Perhaps. Maybe carrying this piece of prophetic scripture to her betrothed Joseph would open his heart to believe in her once again. Zechariah was “fortunate” enough to experience the presence and pronouncement of an angel. Even so, would he be able to believe and comfort young Mary in her wonder and distress?
So much of what we are exhorted to embrace by faith is challenged by our human reason and experiences. Like Mary, Zechariah and Elizabeth experienced a miracle. How do you explain a miracle? Did Elizabeth use words like this to console Mary: “Those who choose to believe do not need proof. For those who don’t, there will never be proof enough.”
Why Mary, anyway? She was as ordinary as they come. Sort of like you and me. Like Mary, God “chooses” us because of our “ordinariness,” not in spite of it. What do we have to offer a sovereign and omnipotent God? Probably no more than a baby does to its new parents – just someone who requires much attention and who is on the receiving end of lavish love.
As we try to express to others the illogical yet miraculous truth that there is a God who extends his grace and favor to all, that too is a story which for many begs belief. Yet the “story” is true. While we aren’t built with the stuff of “angels,” we are equipped to announce the same truth the angel Gabriel proclaimed to Mary. God is making his presence known to man through the birth and life of the person Jesus. “They will call him Immanuel, God with us. His name will be Jesus, because he will save people from their sins.” (Matt. 1:21-23)
We live in a darkening world, yet Jesus remains the “light of the world” and calls us to reflect his “light.” We live in a hope shattering world, yet Christ offers abundant hope for all. Like Mary, we have strange but good news to tell. Nothing changes if nothing is said. Don’t believe your fears. Instead, believe this: God has the desire and the capacity to build upon the words we use with the “Josephs” we share good tidings with. Would you, this season, consider just one person you know who does not have saving faith in Christ and talk with them about your story and how God’s story has made a life-impacting difference in you? Think About It.