Mending One Fence at a Time
This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about. His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
Shattered. Everything Joseph was expecting was no longer true. Mary was pregnant. He knew the baby wasn’t his. While we are told later in the text that God sent an angel to reassure Joseph that the baby was in fact conceived by the Holy Spirt, we aren’t told exactly how Joseph found out Mary was pregnant. We can only imagine the assumptions made and the hurt that must have existed on both sides of the conversation. How could Mary do this to him? Did she not know what could happen to her? What about the plans they had made?
Joseph was ready to end the relationship and quietly divorce Mary in hopes of saving her public humiliation. Some of us might find it difficult to relate to Joseph. Perhaps we are more likely to side with Mary. After all, why wouldn’t Joseph believe her? How could he assume she was with another man?
How often have we made assumptions based on what we’ve seen or heard? How often have our thoughts gone to worst case scenario, or even judgment, about the way others are living?
Social media allows us to be instantly connected to friends and family, but it’s easy to take things people post out of context. It’s easy to read what someone somewhere is posting and assume it’s true without considering the source. Biases are created based on one or two comments. Sometimes we’re even left wondering, “Can I even be friends with this person? How can they believe such things?”
We encounter trouble with social media when we base our opinion of someone solely on our virtual interactions. Let’s face it, we would never dare to be so bold if we were conversing face to face with them. If we are not careful, instead of bringing us together, our interactions on social media may actually pull us further apart. Suddenly, like Mary and Joseph, we find ourselves on two very opposite sides; hurt, disillusioned, and wondering what went wrong.
Thankfully, God mended the divide between Mary and Joseph when he sent an angel to Joseph and told him the truth. Mary wasn’t unfaithful; she was pregnant with God’s Son! This changed everything. What seemed to be a scandalous situation became the event that would change the course of history for God’s people, the birth of our Savior.
God can also mend the division in our own stories. Because of his overwhelming grace and love shown to us, we too can share that kind of love with others. Christ’s love can motivate us to find other ways to nurture and heal our relationships. Perhaps a phone call or a handwritten note to a family member you haven’t seen in a while. Or maybe an email or text to let someone know you are thinking of them. Regardless, these simple things this Christmas season can do big things to bring new life to your relationships.
Heavenly Father, thank you for sending your Son. Jesus, thank you for your willing obedience in life and death. Guide us as we extend that same love and grace to those you have placed around us. Forgive us for the times that we fail and give us the courage and humility to keep trying. In Jesus name, Amen.
Written by Jill Dunbar
Provided by WELS Women’s Ministry