14 day plan

The Birth of Jesus

Day 11 of 14

Matthew 1:18-25

This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

Reflection: This is how the birth of the Messiah came about: right in the middle of complicated human relationships. When the Lord chose the ways and means of the arrival of the Messiah, he chose to enter into the full human experience, which is complicated and messy. It’s this complication that Joseph mulls over when he learns that Mary is pregnant. And it is his mulling, troubled mind that Gabriel enters in order to intervene.

Joseph is searching for a creative solution, a solution to divorce Mary, but in such a way so as not to bring her any shame or disgrace. But into that search, within the channels of his own thinking, Gabriel breaks in and offers another way, the way of a brave peace. Gabriel shows that instead of looking for a way out from his promises to Mary, keeping those promises is the way into the promises of God being fulfilled by the Lord. Gabriel invites Joseph to be a part of the salvation of Israel simply by keeping his own promise to Mary and saving her from shame. And in so doing, Joseph receives the honour of naming the Son of God and yet his own son as well: Jesus, Joshua, which means ‘Jehovah is Salvation’.

It is so natural to look for a way out of difficulty and complication, particularly the mess of complicated human relationships. But, it is often in the mess that the Lord does his work in us. Are you open to divine complication?

Prayer: Lord, use the mess in my life for your purposes. You are the God of order. Create in me your perfect work of love, both for you and for others.