Read: Matthew 1:18 – 27
Luke 1:39 – 45; 2:1-7
Out of an obedience and faith in God, Joseph made the decision to forgive Mary for the shame and hurt he felt in learning of her pregnancy. He determined to let go of the nagging questions and his injured pride. He decided to ignore the whispers and the disapproving glares. Joseph moved forward in his plan to prepare a home for Mary and commit to her anyway. He opened his home, despite feelings of hurt or perceived sin.
Elizabeth was a six month pregnant new mother, with no same aged friends in this season, and her husband was unable to speak. Although she surely must have felt overwhelmed with the plan God had chosen for her, she lovingly welcomed Mary. Here was a young girl with her own set of fears and feelings of loneliness coming to Elizabeth. I imagine Elizabeth must have felt like she had nothing to offer Mary. Yet, she opened her home to encourage and walk with a younger woman seeking wisdom.
When the town was overcrowded and there was simply no more room to house Joseph and Mary, one person chose to be creative. They chose to give the only offering they had available. Not concerned about their lacking or how the young couple might perceive the “mess”, this person offered their stable. It wasn’t cozy. It didn’t have a pleasant aroma. And it wasn’t the best for guests — but this person chose to love fiercely and open their home to a couple with no place to stay.
This Christmas as we open our homes, may we welcome with fresh mercy. May we look for those who need to just sit and be known. May our words be gracious and life giving. May we trust in His plan and unfolding work more than we strive to keep up appearances. When we just don’t seem to have enough, or our homes can’t be quite “clean” enough, may we welcome in anyway — we may just be welcoming in God himself.
Listen To: O Come, O Come Emmanuel – Kim Walker-Smith