Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Word

Fourth Sunday of Advent

Is 7:10-14
Rom 1:1-17
Mt 1:18-24

On the scene today we meet this guy Joseph. Joseph we learn has a good construction job, betrothed to a  teenager, Mary, and they’ve publicly declared their intention to marry. He’s a good guy, and you’ve got to wonder why he’s typically ignored in the retelling of the Christmas story. Even the donkey Mary rides on during their journey to Bethlehem gets more attention than Joe. Of course, he didn’t help his cause by failing to get advance reservations in Bethlehem, and could do no better for a night’s lodging for himself and his pregnant wife than a smelly stable out back.

Mary is the star of the scene. We call her the theotokos, the mother of God. In the Motherhood Hall of Fame, you can’t do better than that, while with Joseph—well, it’s like, “This is Mary my wife who just gave birth to this baby. He’s Gawd.”  “No, he’s not mine.”

Mary gets the attention. But  Joseph must have been crazy-happy that she’d even give him the time of day. He’s just an ordinary guy with modest prospects in love. And then his world falls apart, and when it does we realize that Joe is not average at all.

Joseph welcomed Mary and her child into his life, and he invited God's Holy Spirit to work through all of them. Supportive roles, like Joseph's, are worthy of as much praise as are the "lead roles" in this life.