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Thursday, December 7, 2023

A Heart Ripe for God

 Matthew 1:18-19

“18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.”

The story of the birth of Jesus begins with two, ordinary, very human people. Joseph’s reaction of concern was a reaction you or I might have,  when he discovered that his fiancĂ© was pregnant with a child that was not his.

Joseph was faithful to the law, and Jewish tradition called for divorce to take place in a very public way.   If Joseph had followed the law, Mary would have stood in the public square to face questions about her faithfulness to Joseph. All the townspeople would be watching, and likely judging.

But, Joseph was not only faithful to the law, he was also just and caring. He gave up his rights under the law, and instead of choosing the path of vengeance, he chose the path of mercy and decided to divorce Mary quietly.  This is a reaction that you or I may not have had. 

Joseph was an ordinary man with an extraordinary heart; a heart that was ripe for God.

May the love of Christ be with you,

Rev. Eric Lanier (Retired)

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