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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Good God, what was she thinking?

I often ask this when I look at my daughter and consider that first Christmas, no hoopla, presents, pie or a tree.

It likely occurred in the spring, when shepherd's would be watching their sheep at night (to keep away wolves from the lambs). And God decided to put her plan, the fate of the world and her only plan for redemption in the hands of a girl, no more than 14 (my daughter's age).

Mary could have said no. But she didn't and decided to roll the dice with God and hope she wouldn't be stoned to death when the village or Joseph found out. And Joseph was not old. He likely grew up with Mary and was no more than 18 or 19. He had to decide whether to stone her, as was his right, or divorce her (both of which would preserve family honor) or take her as his bride anyway. He did.

He probably took Mary to Bethlehem to keep her out of the glare and backbiting that can only occur in a small town.

Then Mary has the bad timing to have the baby, far from home and midwife under our equivalent of a freeway overpass. Or maybe the humane society. No money, no friends, and no guarantee that anyone back in Nazareth will come to his carpentry shop again (esp. after a two-year hiatus to Egypt.)

I think the true meaning of the story, which gets lost in all the glitter and sermons is that God reaches down and despite all, works out her plans, even when things are going to shit.

And did I mention (s)he trusted all this to a 14-year-old? Sort of puts my daughter in a new light, until she whines her way out of doing the dinner dishes again.

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