Yesterday in worship we read Matthew’s account of the Annunciation of the angel with Joseph. We noted that Matthew’s way of doing Christmas is quite different from the more popular story in Luke. There is no manger in Matthew. No singing angels. No stirring song from Mary. Rather, the Christmas story in Matthew finds Joseph befuddled, struck speechless. Instead of good news that provokes an outburst of praise music, Joseph bolts up in bed in cold sweat when he learns his fiancée is pregnant, and not by him!
And yet both Mary and Joseph stayed the course. They both believed. Despite all the fear, all the shock, they responded to God with affirmation. Something deep within us insists on faith in this God beyond ourselves. We can’t save ourselves. Something larger than Mary and Joseph is happening. God’s grace at Christmas expands to a whole world as a sign of hope.
Read these Biblical accounts of Mary and Joseph and know this much…Such faith by these two is pure defiance, stunning belief, clench-fisted revolution, and impudent revolt in the face of despair’s omnivorous presence. Hopelessness hates Christmas, as do all tyrants in our lives. We join together singing “O Little Town of Bethlehem” with the words “the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.” Christmas is a battle between two warring factions, and hope wins! This is what Christmas is all about!