Hark, The Herald Angels Sing! JOY To The World! It Came Upon A Midnight Clear. . .
As America grapples with the loss of freedom in lockdowns, inconvenient decrees placed to everyday life, social distance, and 'fears' put to our minds by some in positions of authority, it came to mind that Christmas 2020 is quite similar to the experiences of Mary and Joseph.
Fear came before the JOY that embraced Mary and Joseph in the manger. The biggest 'fear' of both Mary and Joseph was that they did not initially understand what God had asked them to do. Mary was afraid, before accepting the message of the angel Gabriel that 'she was to bear a son and name Him Jesus.' WHA!! How?
'Be not afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God!' Upon learning Mary was with child, Joseph was at first afraid to take her as his wife. As with Mary, an angel appeared to Joseph and assured him it was God's will. Joseph wholly embraced his new role as foster father of Jesus and husband to Mary.
As blessed as Mary was by her YES to her new role as the mother to Jesus, it did bring inconvenience and suffering. Her life was to be dramatically changed, though that was not immediately made clear, and probably why Mary pondered each aspect of life with her special human/Divine son. It's been said that not everyone part of her past life understood her mission. Many women kept their distance. Mary ignored the human opinions of her. Mary instead went to assist her cousin Elizabeth, who was also with child by the power of the Holy Spirit. Elizabeth immediately recognized and proclaimed: 'Blessed are you among women, Mary, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!' Herod, more concerned with exercising his power than examining the effects of his decrees on others, had brought Mary and Joseph the inconvenience and emotional suffering of loss of comfort as they needed to travel to Bethlehem for a census and found no rooms were available in the inns.
Mary and Joseph were counseled by the Wise Men, who understood that baby Jesus was destined to be the Messiah, the Savior of 'the world.' Mary and Joseph with Jesus had to flee to exile and hide to avoid Herod's wrath. The wrath of Herod was due to his earthly ambition to rule over all persons. Such wrathful desire brings Mary and Joseph to exile, and the loss of blessing of Go(o)d relationships with friends, family, and all that is familiar.
Worthy of consideration is that like the days preceding the joyful birth of a NEW LIFE with GOD, fear, inconvenience, suffering, and exile was part of 'the world.'
In the season of Advent, take time to ponder the deeper reason for 'the virus' of ill physical health and the emotional suffering of being socially distant from all that is good and familiar. (Heaven) Give thought to Mary and Joseph's actions, giving up their fears to embrace God's will.
Let's pray that Christmas 2020 brings a clear vision of saying YES to THE God and not push Him out of daily life. Let us worship God in the 'holy family' of Christ's church, where His graced presence and abundant blessings are waiting to be given. When God is put first, there is 'no room' for fear, inconvenience, or suffering of any type, for LOVE that is God, RULES our soul!