2016 | Week of December 13 | #1182
In the midst of this wonderful Christmas season, have you considered the “Christmas Family”? Certainly, the preeminent message of Christmas is that the Son of God came to earth, took on human flesh and lived the human life. Christ did not just live the human life, though; He lived the ultimate, Holy Life and died the ultimate, sacrificial death, so that we could have the ultimate, undeserved gift—eternal life with God. It’s truly a life-giving event that we celebrate!
In addition to the God-in-flesh truth, throughout the story of the incarnation, affirmation and confirmation of God’s perfect design and plan in another area is also clearly evident. Take a look, for a moment, at the life of the Son of God on earth.
If we had been a shepherd, or an angel, on the night of Christ’s birth, what would we have seen? What would we have seen if we had been part of the retinue of Wise Men worshiping the Christ-child at His home some two years later? One thing is for sure, we wouldn’t have seen a single mom, an absentee father, or children suffering from the horrors of divorce. No, we would have seen a family—a married father and mother, and their new child. God modeled in the incarnation His perfect design for marriage and family.
Take a step back from this tableau and consider what happened before the virgin birth. The Holy Spirit came upon Mary, and she conceived Jesus. The Lord of the universe was a tiny, human embryo—an unborn child. Mary was definitely a special young girl, but she was still a very vulnerable human being—by all accounts a teenager. She was already betrothed to Joseph of Nazareth before she become pregnant. By Jewish law, she was guilty of adultery and could be stoned to death. Her pregnancy could have ruined her entire life, or even ended it!
Mary would have been fully aware of the dangers involved, and yet, in Luke 2:38, we hear her humbly accept her Holy charge, “…may it be done to me according to your word.”
Elizabeth, Mary’s aunt, rejoiced with her over her pregnancy. She knew from the Holy Spirit Mary’s pregnancy was unlike any other pregnancy ever had been or would be. But let’s fast forward to today. Elizabeth is a Twenty-First Century aunt who very well might have encouraged her niece to abort her baby because of, you know, the social, physical, emotional and financial ramifications . Instead, Aunt Elizabeth encouraged Niece Mary and allowed her to stay with her for three months.
Joseph, Mary’s betrothed, although he was reluctant to do so at first, marries his pregnant fiancé after a visit from the Angel of the Lord. He was, according to Matthew 1 and 2, a “righteous man,” and a law abiding, tax-paying citizen. Joseph was what many Christian parents want for their daughters—someone who will cherish and care diligently for their daughter and grandchildren and be a spiritual leader.
A study of the Scriptures shows Jesus lived in a caring family. After He was left behind at the temple at the age of 12, Mary told him, “..[Y]our father and I have been anxiously looking for you.” Mary and Joseph didn’t realize Jesus had been left behind in Jerusalem because they thought he had been traveling all day in their large ensemble of extended family and friends. Jesus was part of a family unit, with an extended family. His extended family got involved in each other’s lives.
The Jews in His home-town synagogue called Jesus “the carpenter’s son,” “Joseph’s son” and “the carpenter.” Joseph most likely taught Jesus his trade, which means that he was not an absent father but actively involved in Jesus’ life. Luke 2:51 tells us Jesus subjected himself to his parents’ authority. Even though Joseph was not his biological father, Jesus treated him with respect and lived under his authority.
And Scripture indicates Jesus had a great relationship with His mother, Mary. In fact, Mary was so confident of Jesus’ respect for her that she practically ordered Him, as a grown man, to perform His first miracle when He turned the water into wine at the wedding in Galilee! In an affirmation of parent-child responsibility, Jesus charged His disciple John to care for Mary as Jesus Himself was dying on the cross.
The incredible story of Christ’s incarnation is too wonderful to keep to ourselves. It’s the foundation for our faith and the reason we celebrate Christmas. And, God Who will not violate His Truth nor His principles, saw fit to reinforce His divine plan for marriage and family in this beautiful, life-giving, life-saving event. May we commit ourselves in the New Year to doing all we can to share the Gospel and to strengthen and preserve God’s divine plan for marriage and family!
For Wisconsin Family Council, I’m Julaine Appling, reminding you the Prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.