The Christmas season can be crazy - full of activities, parties, endless errands and lists of things to do. It's easy for me to fly through the entire month of December and be putting ornaments away in January before I realize that Christmas has come and gone and I never really thanked Jesus for coming to earth in such a humiliating way. This year, the Christmas story has even more potential to get lost because in addition to the yearly festivities, we''re hanging pictures on the wall, choosing paint colors and unpacking the garage! To combat this, I started re-reading the Christmas stories in the Gospels during my daily quiet time and I asked God to make the story fresh again.
I started today in Matthew 1. After skimming the genealogy, I started reading about Joseph. When Joseph found out about Mary's apparent unfaithfulness, he began weighing his options. He loved Mary and Matthew described Joseph as "a righteous man." The Bible describes Joseph's two options: divorce Mary quietly and condemn her to a life of living on the streets in disgrace, or have her stoned, both which were the social norm at the time given the circumstances. As he mulled these options over, God gave Joseph a plan C. Marry her. It was such a preposterous idea that God had an awe-inspiring angel deliver the news. When Joseph began asking God for direction, Plan C wasn't even a fathomable idea, but he was just crazy enough to believe that God might know what He was doing, and Joseph obeyed. He shunned the social norm and took on incredible scorn and humility by marrying his fiance' and raising her illegitimate son, Jesus, as his own.
My Bible commentary says, "In view of the circumstances, choosing to marry Mary had not occurred to Joseph. But God often shows us that there are more options available than we think. Although Joseph seemed to be doing the right thing by breaking the engagement, only God's guidance helped him make the best decision. When our decisions affect the lives of others, we must always seek God's wisdom."
I have often wondered what the story of Jesus' life would have looked like if Joseph or Mary chose to say NO to God at any point along the way. How would God have redeemed humanity if the plot had been foiled by disobedience? Then I think of my life and wonder about that same domino effect. Where has my disobedience skewed God's plan to use me? What areas has my obedience blessed someone else? And how creative has God had to be to fix all my blunders?
This past year has been a journey of faith for Curt and I with one big decision after the other. Some of them appeared preposterous and a lot of the choices we made were Plan C's that weren't even on our radar screen when we started asking God for guidance. I am so thankful that God promises His wisdom and guidance to those who seek it and that Curt and I were just crazy enough to believe that God knows what He's doing. I can hardly wait for the next angelic announcement...