What does one do when things do not go as planned, or, at least, as is logical? Ask Joseph, husband of Mary. In today's gospel (Matthew 1:18-25), we read about how Mary is pregnant before her time: not the thing to have happen in first-century Judea! Joseph and Mary were betrothed, i.e. married, but not yet living together, at which time they would then have relations. Such unchasteness was punishable by stoning (cf. Deuteronomy 22:22 and Leviticus 20:10). Oh, dear Joseph, what you had to go through for the Incarnation...
What was going through Joseph's mind? Embarrassment? Shame?
Is Joseph thinking, "I thought I had married church lady!" I like to presume that Joseph opted to go beyond what he may have initially felt, to gaze upon Mary with eyes of faith, and to act accordingly. Faith leads to trust. Joseph trusted and wanted to give Mary to the One to whom she belongs. Contrary to what the cultural tendency may have been at the time, Joseph knows in his heart that his love for Mary does not give him ownership rights over her. Oh, dear Joseph, what you had to go through for the Incarnation. And, what you experienced as a result. You re-received Mary as a new, special gift.
Are we not invited, when things do not go as planned, or, at least, as is logical, to trust with the same intensity as Joseph, and, as a result, to experience unexpected blessings? Let us ask the Holy Spirit for this grace, during this blessed season, which can nonetheless be challenging for many of us.
Yours in Christ,
From the desk of the Rector