Mary becomes pregnant while betrothed to Joseph. Mary knows because of an angel visit and then confirmation through a visit with Elizabeth, that she, Mary is pregnant by God’s creative ability. That does not mean that the other people in Nazareth knew. And most likely they would not believe. How do you share news like that? Obviously Joseph did not believe her for he was planning to not have her stoned but to “divorce her quietly.” In Kenya, that would condemn her to a life of prostitution and disgrace. After the mountain top experience of talking with the angel and with Elizabeth, Mary had to face everyday realty with disbelieving fiancée and gossiping neighbors. Those were rough day, I would wager, similar to a nightmare. Joseph too had to decide what to do. It sounds to me like a nightmare of social criticism and rejection.
God sent an angel to Joseph, “son of David,” in a dream, a vision. Joseph understood the dream to be a vision that gave him affirmation and direction. He welcomed Mary into his home as wife but did not have sexual relations. That could not have been easy. Had it happened today, I suspect news broadcasters would be on the scene interviewing people, taking the temperature of the social climate, calling in experts to weigh in about pregnancy etc etc. Public opinion about life events was as real then as it is today. The public is polled to decide if the courts are right!!
So how do we form our opinions? Do we go with the majority? Perhaps we prefer the opinions of experts. Many feel that government has the final say. Coming to a point where we stand up for our faith and beliefs is very hard, especially when they challenge the politically correct opinions.
Psalm 121 comforts me. I was challenged to memorize it in 8th grade, public school. I find comfort that God does not slumber or sleep and is always watching us. He is our shade in difficult times. As the song by Don Moen says, “He will make a way when there seems to be no way.” As we add the people in Kentucky to our prayer list today, let us pray for them as they, like Joseph and Mary, have had their lives turned upside down. Lord have mercy!
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.