Joseph was a good boy. A follower of God's law, well respected.
God messed all that up.
God came in and completely ruined Mary's reputation. She was an unmarried pregnant girl. Absolute disgrace.
He ruined Joseph's testimony. Joseph's girl was pregnant and by choosing not to stone her he as much as admitted that the child was his. Appalling.
You know that the whole, "God did it" story didn't go over very well. I mean, really. Come on, now, God? God made you pregnant? Uh huh, and Caesar Augustus is giving my tax money back for a Hanukkah gift.
I read something the other day that made me think, hey, if Joseph and Mary were of the line of David why didn't they stay with relatives in Bethlehem?
Why indeed. They were a scandal.
Because they weren't just law followers, they were God followers.
God doesn't really care if we look good. He doesn't care as much about our reputation as we do. He wants us to follow him. That's it.
The Christmas story is a sweet little tale when we retell it 2000 years later. It's easy for us to think they reacted differently than we would. That all was merry and bright. But they were human. They lived in a difficult, judgmental world.
Back then, the story was full of tears. Full of pain.
It cost a lot for Christ to come to us. The incarnation was a sacrifice from beginning to end.
But even then, even in the midst of rejection, confusion, and a damaged testimony Mary said:
“Oh, how my soul praises the Lord.
How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
For he took notice of his lowly servant girl,
and from now on all generations will call me blessed.
For the Mighty One is holy,
and he has done great things for me."
What about us? What about when it starts looking like it might cost something to follow God? Are we willing to trade the good for the best? Am I?
Thank God Mary was.