Monthly message from the vicar
On Christmas Reconciliation December 2019
At this season we remember a family who had to travel to their home town, in order to be counted by the government of the day. Thinking of Joseph, travelling with a heavily pregnant Mary I become aware of part of the Christmas story that I don’t often focus on.
Joseph wouldn’t be the first man to discover that his partner is pregnant and to know or think that it can’t be his child she’s carrying. I wonder whether his first feeling was hurt or humiliation, betrayal or anger. In a nativity story jam-packed full of angels and dreams, miracle babes, pilgim kings I don’t always notice the miracle in Joseph’s relationship with Mary. He doesn’t leave her, he doesn’t throw her out, he takes on both Mary and her child and I’m sure in the raising of that little boy, Jesus became his child as well as God’s.
Men and women who are able to see through hurt and betrayal to repair and rebuild relationships; men and women who are able to love and raise children that are not in biological terms ‘theirs’ are very wonderful.
In the context of first century Palestine where society would have stoned Mary for adultery if Joseph had sought that this miracle of reconciliation between Mary and Joseph is perhaps even more amazing.
Reconciliation after hurt and disagreement whether between couples or friends; in families and communities is not often easy.
I wonder what kind of conversations Mary and Joseph had about all that had happened to them on the journey to Bethlehem. Even if I had an angel explain it all to me in a dream I know it would still have taken time and work to renew the relationship if I had been Joseph.
In a Christmas season when differences within the nation will have been discussed and pondered and voted on – I’m glad to be reminded by Joseph’s part in the Christmas story that reconciliation across hurt an disagreement is not only possible, but often brings great joy.
May this Christmas season, and the new year that follows it, bring healing of hurts and the renewal of working well together for the benefit of all