It makes my stomach churn just thinking about it.
I can close my eyes and imagine…
For real, being Mary.
A pregnant teenager who hasn’t even done anything to warrant being pregnant. When my family figures it out, they send me away “with haste” to stay with my cousin. They need time to figure out what to do about my “condition.”
For real, being Joseph
Getting the news that the young woman promised to be mine, isn’t such a “fresh catch” after all.
With integrity (and honestly, to save face), I choose not to make a stink about the “situation.” I determine to break it off quietly.
Then in a dream-like experience, something that looks like and announces himself to be “an angel of God,” tells me to stay with her because she is carrying GOD.
100 miles without wheels.
I travel 100 miles, on foot and donkey, about to have a baby.
I have to listen to a very pregnant woman traveling 100 miles on foot and donkey.
All because the government demands I do it.
Requires me to show up in person so they can count me ( probably so they can overtax me.)
Being compliant with the government’s request, I arrive to the place they have required me to go and finding out they did not plan well- at all.
That there aren’t even close to enough rooms to accommodate everyone coming to be counted.
I’m Mary again.
Labor pangs hit while my hubby it still trying to find a room.
They are coming on strong.
Not only am I in excruciating pain, but I don’t even have anywhere to deal privately with what is happening to my body.
I’m Joseph again.
My very pregnant wife begins shrieking in pain.
I am helpless and for all practical purposes, homeless in a strange city. Until the guy who owns the local motel tells me my very pregnant wife “can crash with the donkey she rode in on.”
In all that chaos and confusion…
My first child arrives (the way a child must arrive).
“It’s a boy!”
(Which I the angel told me it would be, but honestly, I’ve wondered all along how this “God’s son” thing could be happening for real).
I find some rags to wrap him in, because there is no such thing as Wal-Mart and my mother-in-law is 100 miles away.
I’m amy again.
By any standards- this is a hot mess.
And I suddenly realize… this is the way Jesus asked to come in.
Right smack dab in the middle of the mess.
I’m noticing, this advent, that Jesus loves to come into messes.
Then Jesus made a circuit of all the towns and villages. He taught in their meeting places, reported kingdom news, and healed their diseased bodies, healed their bruised and hurt lives. When he looked out over the crowds, his heart broke. So confused and aimless they were, like sheep with no shepherd. (Matthew 9:35–36 The Message)
And I have plenty of them.
A Prayer I am praying if you want to join me-
Thank you for coming into the mess.
I invite you into my messes, one by one. (I’m saying in my prayer what mine are specifically because there’s power in owning them.)
Thank you, Jesus, for shining your love light into my dark and messy places.
Also published on Medium.
Categorized in: advent 2017