Manger Scene: Mary

Luke 1:26-38 Today we continue building our manger scene with Mary… the one who found herself unexpectedly pregnant and had faith enough to accept it. I have to believe that finding out you’re pregnant is always kind of shocking.  When I discovered I was pregnant with Eleanor, our oldest, it was very much planned for – Alan and I had been married a couple years and wanted to have a little Alan or Mary Jr. But it’s funny, seeing the positive result on that pregnancy test still took us off-guard.  I used my shaky hands to call Alan at work, hoping he could come home for lunch.  “No, I’m tied up today,” he said, not realizing the mind-blowing news I wanted to deliver. So I just blurted it out:  “Well then… I’m pregnant!”  When he finally came home and we got to talk it over together, we just laughed in a kind of hysterical disbelief.  We were trying and hoping for this end result… but now that it had worked, it felt a lot like our bluff had been called. And that’s with an expected pregnancy. So how much more shocking was Mary’s pregnancy?  No at-home test, no “trying,” even.  Just an angel showing up and saying, “Hello, Mary – God’s favored one!  God is with you!” Mary was likely just a girl (women got engaged around the age of 12), but she shows a mature intuition with this glowing greeting.  Luke 1:29 tells us she was “greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be” (1:29). Here’s how I interpret...

Manger Scene: Joseph

Matthew 1:18-25 During Advent we at Andrews UMC are building a manger scene, adding a piece each week until Christmas Eve.  Today we begin with Joseph… which means, today we’re talking about Jesus’ earthly dad. I have always been a daddy’s girl.  I aspire to be like Dad in all important things, from the way I sink a basketball (sometimes) to the way I drink my coffee (black, always).  I love my daddy. But like many daughters, I was closer to my mom.  Being the only two girls in our five-person family meant that Mom and I naturally logged more hours together.  We’d shop all day, laugh late at night, and talk on the phone each morning until I was late for work.  I’ve always adored my dad, always felt close to him… but for much of my life, I knew my mom in an intimate, best-friend kind of way that I didn’t know my father. I think many of us are like this with Joseph and Mary.  We might admire him, but we don’t know him like we know Mary.  Luke’s account of Jesus’ birth tells us a whole lotta details about the Messiah’s mom:  her shared pregnancy with Elizabeth; her song; even some of her thoughts on things (“How can this be?”).  Mary shows up in the story of Jesus’ adult ministry (notably, around the cross); Joseph is only mentioned later as part of Jesus’ identity (“Isn’t this Joseph’s son?”) Who is Joseph, really? Today’s Scripture tells us Joseph’s reaction to Jesus’ birth in just 8 verses… but those 8 verses tell us a very important thing...