Wednesday, December 22, 2010
The Ultimate Choice*
Choices. This world is full of them. What kind of bread should I get? The types of grain and baking method are endless in this country! We have abundance like crazy, and don't even know what to do with it! But bread's not my topic. My topic is around this season. What this season means to me. My faith in the last couple years has, I wouldn't say wavered, but I definitely am not the faithful churchgoer as I used to be. I could use an excuse that church doesn't make me anymore Christian than I already am, but I won't, because to me that's an EXCELLENT EXCUSE!! Nope. I've just been lazy. Lazy in a lot of things in my life. I guess you could say that I've taken a break from doing just about everything. But I digress. I'll save the bad vibes for another time.
Back to the topic. Today, I am hitting on a topic that makes me point to the disclaimer above and has me remind you of it before you begin reading anymore. Go on, Read it! THANKS! :D
Okay...choices. Yes. Lots of them. Yup. Did you know I'm pro-choice? I am. I believe that, even though God has a plan for all of us, I am still okay with someone to choose abortion for themselves. He did give us free will. And, like a good parent, he let's us make mistakes and face choices that suck. I had that choice once. I chose to raise her. But I still deliberated. As a woman, we get that decision. But guess what? The Ultimate Choice I'm talking about today was not made by a woman, but a man. Or, in this day in age, a boy. Probably not more than 16-18 years old, yet in those days, he was a man. His girlfriend, or should I say, betrothed/wife, was only about 12-14 years old. His betrothed, Mary was a very faithful Jewish girl who had the most extraordinary faith in God! So faithful that He chooses her to carry the Chosen One. The one that will save all people. The one that God promised since Adam and Eve ate the apple. We don't hear much about her deliberations in the bible except for it to say that she tells the angel (and I always forget if it's Gabe or Mike, or do they even mention it?) that it's impossible to be with child because she hasn't been with her husband. That's how faithful she is. She accepts it, goes and visits her cousin, who is also carrying John, who will become a wild man for Jesus, and looks forward to the birth of her baby. Need I mention that the cousin lives far away, and Mary was not yet showing when she went to visit? Back then, visiting cousins was a seasonal affair. She probably stayed with Elizabeth for a few months. Won't she have quite the Christmas present to bring home, huh?
So Mary, who again, is honored beyond all comprehension to be carrying the Messiah, comes home. Now let's picture this: Cousin Zechariah brings Mary home. Mary no longer has a teenage body. She's full in the belly. She didn't eat too much hummus and pita bread. She has a BABY in there. I always wonder if she sits and comprehends what people will think, like we do? Needless to say, people, including her immediate family, are shocked and surprised. They take her aside demanding the truth of how she got this way! She tells the Truth. She goes to her betrothed and tells him the Truth. The Truth to him is so far fetched that he can scarcely believe it! He faces immense betrayal. He did feel that. He was honorable to the law, and the law back then was that women did not cheat on their husbands. They were stoned for that sort of thing. STONED! This involves rocks, not grass. Now THIS is where it gets good!!!
Let me say something quick. Do you ever hear things that make you so mad or upset that you want to seek revenge or get ticked off right away? I'm raising my hand here. It usually takes someone else to calm me down and justify something to me instead of going and fulfilling the judgment through yelling, or whatever.
So, Joe makes the decision, because he loves his wife enough to not have her stoned to death.(back then, betrothals were marriage, and they lasted a long time, and sex was when the betrothal ended and the marriage began, so they were married, it was just not consummated). You know what happened? I'm going to just put up the passage because I couldn't say it better myself: From Matthew 119 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yeta]">[a] did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. 20 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. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,b]">[b] because he will save his people from their sins.”
WHY DO I FIND THIS SO SPECTACULAR????? A couple things.
1) The man made the choice. As independent and liberal as I can be, I always love the man making the right decision. I appreciate that. He didn't make the divorce choice to dishonor her. He didn't want her killed. She was going to have the lesser of 2 evils. Remember, this was when women were not esteemed as they are now.
2) God didn't make THE MOVE until Joseph made THE CHOICE. That. Speaks. Volumes.
This goes back to God giving us the choices that we have. He was being Joseph's parent in letting him make a very adult decision that he would never be ready to make, and then he said "SURPRISE!" Believe your wife, because she has found favor with Me (see Luke 1:29-31).
I tend to ponder if Joseph made the other choice, what would have God done? Would He still come down and tell Joseph the Truth, or would Joseph's decision come to fruition? My heart aches thinking of the latter. Yet God made a decision and let His child Joseph make a CHOICE that, although he was still intervened in keeping Mary as his wife, he made the choice to keep her alive. Alive so she would still be able to bear a Son that came into this world to do the works of His Father, which also meant dying on a mere cross so that I can see Him in heaven someday.
Joseph divorcing Mary would not have changed the outcome of a baby being born. But would Jesus being raised without a human father made Him different? I don't know. I'm glad I don't have to know that. However, I know that he would have still served the purpose that was meant by God.
To my friends who are believers in Christ, I hope that you enjoyed a little more in-depth of my human perspective of Jesus' birth. And to my friends who are not believers, none of us deserve the love that we have the choice to receive, yet He loves us so much that He wants us to.
So, my thanks goes out to God for giving Mary an honorable and loving husband who made the decision to keep her from harm.