It’s impossible to celebrate Christmas without thinking of Mary and Joseph – the two from Galilee.

When Christmas comes around my imaginations go wild roaming the hills of Galilee, the long winter trek to Bethlehem with a pregnant teenaged girl on a donkey and the man who simply obeyed God’s message in the night.   A four day walk to be exact.  We don’t know exactly when Jesus was born but in Israel, temperature drops drastically within hours at sunset.  Being poor they didn’t have nice warm blankets and sleeping bags. The baby was coming soon and they had no time to spare.  When the baby is about to come, as any mother knows –  the when, where, and who delivers the baby are insignificant.  The baby is in control of mommy’s body and he or she will come, rain or shine.      

I’ve always wondered how many Jewish young women did Angel Gabriel visited before he approached Mary.  Could it be that other young women were afraid they were hallucinating and ran home? We’re not told.  According to tradition, Mary was about fourteen years old. She was a poor, obscure girl from Nazareth, a small town in Galilee.  She is mentioned only as the mother of Jesus and related to Elizabeth and nothing more.  Mary has no long genealogy record in history.  But Joseph does –  a direct line from King David!  Why is that? I believe God is saying that it really doesn’t matter whether you are chochell or chulechell, ngalk ra ilteet ma lechub eng chelebuul… He can take you places you’ve never even dreamed possible.  It’s reassuring to know that we, as ordinary women, commoners like Mary can be used by God for His glory.

When I first consciously read the genealogy of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter One I was flabbergasted, stupefied.  His fore-grandmothers were not exactly “nice girls”.  These women would be frowned upon if they darken the doors of some church buildings today.  Tamar was a scorned woman.  She deceived Judah, her father-in-law and had twins with him.  Rahab was a prostitute from Jericho – apparently she married one of the spies.  Ruth was widow and a Gentile.  And Bathsheba?  We all know who she was!

God’s grace forgives the darkest of sins and reaches beyond the nation of Israel to the world – to you and me.

Something about Mary is notable.  She was of a sound mind.  She knew who she was.  She didn’t try to be something she wasn’t and never did.  She remained herself throughout her life.  Spontaneous with her responses to Angel Gabriel with such eloquence.  She was well-versed in biology – well taught by her mother, I’d say.  Her humility shined through like gold, “I am the LORD’S handmaiden.  May it be as you say.”   She was  reasonable.  With her freewill in tact, she chose to go visit Elizabeth in Jerusalem… giving her enough time to think things through before she starts showing. It was a  dangerous time.  She could have been stoned to death being unmarried and pregnant. This is where Joseph came in as the Man of the Hour.  What a guy!
May your Christmas be filled with exuberant joy. [/restrict]