Gleanings (12/24/11) – The Gift

Matthew 1:18-25

“And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.”

So ordinary was the environment in which Jesus was conceived and born, that Matthew records Joseph’s resolve to divorce Mary quietly. No one could blame Joseph. He had not “known” his betrothed in the biblical sense, so why marry someone seemingly unfaithful. I mean how did she get pregnant? So why not do what anyone would do and end the engagement. It is what anyone would do, a common thing. Add fields, shepherds, stables and a manger and you have quite modest and extraordinarily ordinary surroundings for the birth of King of kings and Lord of lord. Then again, he was a Savior that would rescue people from their sins. He never cared much for thrones while on earth.

The traditional Christmas pageant always reminds me of the simplicity of it all. It did today. That God would roll up His sleeves and enter into our ordinary and mucky world is quite astounding. We have no referent for understanding love so grand. Our best effort doesn’t come close. After all, it is His nature.

The simplicity could be lost in church. There is so much pomp and circumstance to our celebrations and every once a while it’s accompanied by some business (as it was today with an appeal for generous giving to cover the 2011 deficit which equates to the present median price of a home in the mid-west).

But the pageant could easily take place in a barn. Wait. It did!

In the middle of it all, let us remember the gift is for the masses, those who believe in their heart and profess with their lips Jesus is Lord. It is for the poor as much as it is for anyone else. It is for the ordinary. It’s for you. It’s for me.

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