As this Christmas approaches I find myself thinking a lot about the realities faced by Joseph and Mary. Many scholars believe that at the time of Jesus’s birth Mary and Joseph were probably in their young teen years (13-16). Assuming this to be true, or even approximately true, I can’t shake certain thoughts.
- Mary, having never been with a man, went through the messy reality of child-birth in close quarters with her new husband. Awkward, to say the least.
- I found no evidence that Joseph had ever been with a woman, yet he was there in the mess to assist his new bride.
- What was the interaction between them like? The actual event is passed over in scripture, but Jesus had to be born somehow. Scripture doesn’t say he just sort of appeared in the manger and Mary was good to go! There was an actual birth process. Two newlywed teenagers going through child-birth in a manger…wow. Maybe in that day and culture their age wasn’t as big a deal as it may seem to us in 2009. Ok. Two younger, less experienced people delivering a child into water troughs and straw. Still wow.
- How did it feel to hold the baby Jesus? My wife and I have two sons. I was able to hold each of them within minutes of birth. The overwhelming feeling I experienced many times as I held them was: opportunity. They were clean slates. They were literally at the starting line with everything in life open to them. Mary and Joseph knew something of what Jesus was to accomplish…how did it feel to hold him as a baby?
I hope that this Christmas and holiday season finds you looking for opportunities, connecting with those you care for in rich and rewarding ways, and seeking truth in every area of life.