Crawling toward the Manger: Day 17

When life flips you upside down and shakes the hope from you and dreams fall like coins to the sidewalk, clattering, scattering . . .

In that moment, what do you do?

Mary found herself in such a moment. The future she’d imagined for herself was suddenly nothing more than past thoughts.

Do you ever wonder if Mary’s life was endangered by her out-of-wedlock pregnancy? Did the town of Nazareth mob around her, ready to cast stones? They would have been right to do so, by Mosaic Law.

Suspicious glances. Name calling. Avoidance. This was Mary’s life now. The favored one, rejected by family and friends. The favored one, spat upon and glowered at. A promising young woman, now an outcast.

I’m pretty sure I would have sulked, or at least decided to prove to the town what a good life I could have without them and their religious ungrace.

We don’t get to see Mary’s response in full, but we hear her confess faith to the angel, and we read about her trip to Elizabeth. Then we see her on the road to Bethlehem with Joseph. What happened in between is left to our imagination. Perhaps she was glad to get away from a town that was growing increasingly hostile toward her. Did Joseph lose business as a carpenter? Was there a time he didn’t think he’d be able to support Mary and the baby? Did they ever consider relocating?

We don’t know, but we can be assured that this turn in Mary’s life led to some interesting experiences. Her life had been flipped over. Not for a moment, but for its entirety.

Perhaps you are there, in that upside down place. Perhaps circumstances have left you shaken and your dreams scattered. Or perhaps lack of activity in your life, things not happening, has left you stuck and feeling flipped over, like the pathetic beetle with its legs in the air, wiggling itself to death. So much activity and yet it goes nowhere.

Oftentimes answers elude us. Frustration or disappointment can cling to our hearts like a filmy residue on a glass cup, and there’s no easy fix to this, no oxi-clean detergent answer.

But there is trust. One act of trust doesn’t change emotion, but slowly, over time, trust builds–one act on another–and erodes the residue we’d thought would last forever. One day at a time, the choice to trust sets loose the power of the Holy Spirit in us. The act of trusting is akin to a prayer, “Come, Jesus,” and the door is opened.

Take that first step today and trust him in that difficult situation. Find others who are trusting and join with them. Trust is easier in community. Together, trust what He says is true and good, even if evidence suggests otherwise, remembering that now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror, and someday we shall see face to face.

romans 513

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2 thoughts on “Crawling toward the Manger: Day 17

  1. On the whole, I have understood much about the social/cultural ‘out-of-wedlock’ ramifications of those times; but today I was hugely struck, for the first time, by Mary’s decision to ‘let it be done to me….’ in the face of such dire consequences, and that our great, glorious God prevailed above all, when I read:

    “Do you ever wonder if Mary’s life was endangered by her out-of-wedlock pregnancy? Did the town of Nazareth mob around her, ready to cast stones? They would have been right to do so, by Mosaic Law.”

    So much of today’s post has been wonderful to read in the literary sense. Thanks Sondra…for a fresh, awesome message!

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  2. Thanks Sondra for this post. It went right along with the Scripture I read this morning (amazing how God does that:) The Scripture was about Simeon and how God promised him that he would see the Savior before he died. I wonder how often he had prayed about that and then watched as the Romans oppress the Jews more. How often did he cling to that promise when he could see no evidence of it. Yet he had the trust you were talking about and God Who is faithful always gave him the desire of his heart. Praise God!

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