Y’know, you really have to admire Mary and Joseph! Here is Mary, a young woman in her mid-teens, being told that she is to be the Mother of God. To top it off, her child was to be conceived in not-quite-the-normal way. Put yourself in her situation; talk about a major freak-out!!!
And then there’s Joseph, who appears in Sunday’s Gospel. Tradition has it that he was an older man, perhaps widowed with children of his own (hence the Gospel reference to the “brothers and sisters” of Jesus). Joseph faced a serious dilemma, not to mention his shock, when he found that his betrothed was already pregnant and not by him.It seemed an open and shut case of adultery.
And imagine the feelings of Mary herself in this position!How was she to explain that she was pregnant by the power of God?Who would believe a story like that?If Joseph felt outraged and betrayed, one would understand.Most men would have planned vengeance at such an insult to their manliness and the possibility of becoming the laughing stock of the other men in the village.
Then comes the visit of the angel: He is to take Mary as his wife and the child will be the Son of God. Another major freak-out! You really have to admire those two people … their faith, their courage, the special stress they had as parents. I think, for example, of the total panic they had when they lost Jesus for three days.
Interestingly enough, by way of footnote, have you ever stopped to think that there are people in this world who are actual descendants of Mary and Joseph through DNA linkage? That may not be the case with you or me, but no matter: We are direct spiritual descendants of Mary and Joseph and through our Baptism, brothers and sisters of the Lord Jesus. Our role as baptized Christians is to bear Jesus to our world; to bring him to life through our words and actions. How great is that!!!
My prayer for you: that God will bless you and yours with a gentle Happy Christmas!
Fr. Herb, C.S.C.