Interestingly enough, the two most peaceful participants in the Christmas story are the ones who had the most difficult circumstances. God knew what He was doing when He chose Mary and Joseph.
He picked a young virgin of unshakeable faith and humility. She was willing to suffer misunderstanding, rejection, and possible death for her unprecedented circumstances. She was the world’s first and only pregnant virgin.
We don’t know much about Joseph, but he was a man of dreams and visions, who believed what God told him and acted on it. No matter what God required - no matter what time of day or night - Joseph protected Mary and the Son of God she carried.
How could they so peacefully accept all that was required of them? They calmly submitted to gossip, moving from place to place, and random visits from rag tag shepherds and wealthy kings.
What was their secret? I believe they knew they were a part of a bigger plan, so big, that it couldn’t be defeated. Their peace came from knowing that the One who promised is faithful. They were content to do their part in the most powerful drama of all time.
Monday, December 9: Accepting Plan ‘B’
I like to plan ahead and have control over my life. My favorite line from the old “A Team” was when Hannibal said, “I love it when a plan comes together.” However, it’s a good thing that not all my schemes “come together,” because they’re not always God’s best for me.
Just like us, Joseph and Mary had plans, or at least dreams of what life would be like when they got married. They probably pictured a quiet existence in Nazareth with Joseph doing carpentry and Mary keeping house – including kids, friends, and worship at the synagogue. Angelic visits, prophetic dreams, and parenting the Messiah probably didn’t enter their minds.
When I was growing up and things went awry, my dad would say, “I guess we’ll go with plan B.” Often, the situation went on to plan C or even D. It helped me learn that fretting and flailing don’t help the situation. Yet, sometimes, I still do that, just a little.
My husband constantly amazes me with his cheerful flexibility. His favorite saying is: “It’s time to improvise and adapt.” Mary and Joseph knew how to do that. Here’s a few examples:
Mary’s Plan A
Marry Joseph and have children.
We’ll live respected lives of obedience to God.
We’ll live in Nazareth near family.
Mary’s Plan B
I’m pregnant with the Messiah by the Holy Spirit! Everyone assumes I’ve been unfaithful, but I know I’m blessed.
Our baby was born in a stable.
Joseph’s Plan A
I will marry Mary and raise a family.
I’ll divorce Mary quietly for unfaithfulness.
Unexpected trip to Bethlehem to pay taxes; the baby will be born there.
Joseph’s Plan B
Mary’s says she’s pregnant by the Holy Spirit!
An angel told me to marry her; she’s having the Messiah!
We have to run to Egypt because Herod wants to kill Jesus.
Every time Mary and Joseph thought they knew the plan, God threw another curve. Through it all, they followed His directions with amazingly good attitudes. Their acceptance of Plan B: fulfilled prophesy, revealed Jesus as the Savior of all men, strengthened their own faith, and magnified their dependence on God.
They demonstrated that Plan B can be even better than Plan A, which really wasn’t Plan B at all, but Plan G – God’s Plan. The best one of all.