Friday, December 9, 2016

An interesting year

You might think calling 2016 "an interesting year" is an understatement. And you'd probably be right.

But it HAS been an interesting year. 

Never mind all of the political shenanigans and the Black Lives Matter movement and the ascension of ISIS. Irrespective of all those things, it has still been interesting.

And as the holidays wind up and the year winds down, many of us find ourselves wool-gathering. That is, we're trying to take a good look at where we've been and where we're going.

I would guess Mary and Joseph would've had ample time to do likewise, as they spent about a week traveling to Bethlehem.

If our year was interesting, theirs was downright insane.

And we'll be hearing some about that this coming Sunday at our Quest gathering.

But last Sunday, we talked about how advent literally means "eagerly, anxiously awaiting the arrival of something or someone."

So, Mary and Joseph are expecting a baby; and what better way to describe the nine months between conception and delivery? Aren't all expectant parents are eagerly, anxiously awaiting the arrival of someone? So all expectant parents are, in a sense, experiencing advent.

If you're a parent, and you're having trouble connecting with this season, think about that.

Think about what it was like during that nine-month period when you were expecting your first kid. If you're normal, you were a jumble of mixed emotions - fear, excitement, anxiety, hope, worry, wonder - did I already say fear? - but all of that was underscored by an overwhelming sense of responsibility and purpose. And how you responded to all of that characterized those nine months.

Now take that mish-mash of emotions, and add the fact that your baby is the incarnate creator of the universe. How does one deal with that? Never mind how you're going to decorate the nursery or whether you're going to use cloth or disposable diapers; try wrapping your head around the whole "baby king" thing.

Many people tend to revere Joseph and Mary, and others want to sweep them under the rug. But I would argue that, how they responded to this crazy situation is a vital part of what makes the birth story so compelling. It doesn't make them divine, but it certainly suggests that they were worthy of consideration and respect.

Come join us Sunday, as we dig a little deeper, trying to understand who Mary and Joseph were and how they responded to the fact that they were expected to raise the Messiah.

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