Thursday, December 6, 2007


So why is the Jewish wedding custom important to the Christmas story? Well, Mary and Joseph were betrothed. The price had been paid for her, the contract had been signed and he was preparing a home for them. It was more than just an exchange of words and an engagement ring. It was much more binding. So when Mary finds that she is with child by the Holy Spirit, you can imagine how difficult it had to be for her to tell Joseph! That is why he was trying to decide whether to write her a bill of divorcement or not. That would have been perfectly legal to do because in the eyes of the Law, the marriage contract had been broken if she was pregnant!
The fact he did not do that immediately speaks of his great love for Mary and, I think, the fact was that he was having a hard time imagining that she could have betrayed him. That was just not Mary’s character. Remember, this was a young woman God Himself chose to bear His Son. She was a godly young woman.

We often think how wonderful it must have been to be chosen to bear God’s son…and it was an honor, no doubt. But it came with a price…a heavy price. Today, let us think about what it was REALLY like for Mary AND for Joseph to accept the words of the angel and to move forward with their lives. Put yourself in their place and think how YOU would have reacted had you been them!

If you had been Mary, how would you have told Joseph? If you had been Joseph, what would your reaction have been had your betrothed told you she was visited by an angel and told she was going to have the Son of God? Matthew tells us that he was of a mind to "put her away privately"….meaning he was going to divorce her as quietly as possible. I think that shows us that he did not believe her….or at least the part about it being God’s child. What did her parents say? She went to her cousin Elizabeth’s soon after. Did her parents send her there? Were they ashamed? Were they hoping Elizabeth would get the "truth" out of her? Scripture does not tell us. But I think we need to really think of what she went through and yet, I believe that God knew how she would handle it and that is part of the reason He chose her.

In spite of how difficult it must have been to tell her loved ones and bear the brunt of their response, Luke’s recording of Mary’s song in Luke 1: 46-55 gives us insight into Mary’s own response and to her heart:

"My soul doth magnify the Lord and my spirit has rejoiced in God MY Savior
For He has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden, for Behold…
From henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
For He that is mighty has done GREAT things and holy is His name!"

Today…….. in whatever circumstances you find yourself……….. may you be able to say with Mary, "My soul doth magnify the Lord and my spirit has rejoiced in God MY Savior!!!!!

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