More Like Mary… and Joseph

Today’s Word:  CHOICES

Today’s Time of Stillness:  11 minutes

As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” – Matthew 1:20-21

Big thank you to Ashley Huffman Sanders for her guest post today!

Sitting down for the first time today without holding a child, an animal, or a basket of laundry. It’s 11:00 PM. The dog and I are squished against each other on an otherwise expansive sofa. But the other 2/3 is covered in scattered ornaments and strands of 1/2 functioning Christmas lights that didn’t make the final cut for the tree.

I look around — a nice green carpet of pine needles forming on the living room floor, 4 more boxes of Christmas decorations sitting on the dining room table, a sink full of dirty dishes, client emails to return, and I’m pretty sure I found the stack of missing thank you notes I still haven’t finished from my child’s August birthday behind the end table when I pushed it back to make room for the Christmas tree. (I may or may not have just swept them back under again). I think you get the picture.

The ‘Martha’ in me — who is rather strong willed — is beginning to twitch as I take a visual inventory of the every day chaos. I can’t get to it all… but maybe 2 things? Then in bed by 1?

But ‘Mary’. Thank the Lord for Mary.

The ‘Mary’ in me decided that Jesus cares a whole lot more about my mental stability than whether the little deer on the mantle are grouped in the aesthetically correct numbers. Or if I ever do actually finish those thank you notes.

Nope. He cares more about your spirit and heart and how you use them to grow and to love on others — his people — maybe even people we don’t understand or agree with, or even like.

Thank God for the Marys of the Bible. For the freedom they represent. The ones who went against what culture said they should do — what rules and etiquette they were expected to adhere to. Who weren’t afraid to bend the rules, stare the lawmakers in the face, declare mercy and grace rather than condemnation and rule.

I glance over to the lopsided tree in the corner, at the new ‘creative’ pattern in which my toddler has rearranged all of my so carefully placed ornaments. I spy a guilded nativity scene, peeking out from behind a broken sailboat and a miniature alien — mysteriously shifted front and center to steal the show from the holy family.

Jesus, understandably, takes center stage in this story. His mother, taking best supportive role. But Joseph. What about Joseph? We spoke about him today on Sunday School.

How many other men do you know would have done what he did? He went against what culture said he should do, went against what even his heart said he should do. He didn’t shame Mary, didn’t have her stoned, didn’t demand his engagement sums back. He was willing to walk away quietly. Until that dream.

And then he stayed.

He stayed and chose love. He stayed and chose Father. Stepfather, adoptive father, foster father. Whatever role you wish to use.

He chose to love the boy who wasn’t his, as his own. Give him hope for a future. Raise him to be the man who eventually grew to be our Savior.

What would’ve happened if Joseph had made a different choice? What would’ve become of Mary and her son? What would have become of our Messiah??

Don’t ever underestimate your role of support in anyone’s life. Don’t ever underestimate the importance of being still, listening to God’s messengers, following his guidance even when it doesn’t make sense or doesn’t fit into our plan.

The joy that’s experienced when we live and love as God has called us to will overcome any fear or question or doubt in our minds. It may not be easy, but it’s worth it.

Be still this week and listen to what God may be calling you to do. Whom he may be pointing you towards.

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