Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.Matthew 1:18
You know, the white spaces between Bible verses are always fertile soil for interesting questions.
Sometimes, it’s really hard to read God’s word without thinking I wonder if… I wonder if Eve ever ate another apple? I wonder if Noah ever slept easy when it rained? Did Peter ever try water-walking again? There are lots of “I wonder” moments in the Bible. But perhaps, nothing quite stirs our imagination as the events surrounding the birth of Jesus. Did the innkeeper ever learn who he turned away? Did the shepherds ever hum the song the angels sang to them? Did Joseph ever arm wrestle Jesus and who won and did Jesus cheat !?
What about Mary? Luke tells us that Mary, was a young girl when she became pregnant perhaps 16 or younger. Mary would have had plans. She knew when she was going to get married, where she was going to marry, how many guests were invited. Her hopes were wonderfully and entirely… ordinary….. And then Matthew Chapter 1 happens and she finds herself – pregnant… Now every plan she had lies shattered on the floor…. I don’t think it is possible to over-estimate her confusion. Will Joseph divorce her? How will she live with the shame? Is she ready to be a mum? Surely the question Mary is asking is: God what are you doing in all this mess? My plans are wrecked! God do you have plans? Let Jesus into our life and life will never be the same again… So Mary committed her path to God. And through Mary’s “yes” God changes the course of human history and billions of people find hope. Though our plans may get wrecked, through our “yes” God will change the course of our life too and through us he can bring hope to many others. God does NOT promise it will be easy, but He DOES promise to use us to bring hope and beauty into the world.
In his later years, the famous French painter Renoir, suffered badly from arthritis. His friend Matisse asked him. “why do you keep painting, when you are in such pain”. Renoir replied “the discomfort passes but the beauty remains”.
It seems to me, that Mary could say the same: the tough times pass – but the hope and beauty remain.
Will you trust God in the confusion of this time that he may bring beauty and hope through you?
The ‘daily share’ is a hint each day for how you could share some hope in your life, today.
Is there someone you know whose plans have been disrupted by COVID19? How can God use you to encourage them with one small act of kindness that brings a note of hope and beauty into their life?
Steve is married to Amanda and they have five wonderful children and four grand-children who are a delight. Over the years they have had a menagerie of pets including their loved Golden Retriever Sasha, 3 chickens (Mavis, Hugo and Kaya), 1 free-range tortoise (Torticus) and 1 very audible frog (no name, who’d name a frog?). Steve is a passionate arm-chair rugby fan and has been Rector of TRINITY church Lewes for almost 18 years.