Today’s Word: ‘Turn” as in… first a twist, then a turn!
The King of kings was first introduced to the simplest of the simple: a young girl, a carpenter, some shepherds. The Lord of lords was first announced to the least of the least. But Matthew is almost casual about the divine details as he begins his own rendition of the sweet, cozy, neat, tidy, heavenly, somewhat simple story.
Matthew begins simply,
“The birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly.”
Uh-oh. Talk about twists and turns! Life isn’t always so sweet, cozy, neat, tidy, heavenly and simple, is it? Can you imagine what was going on in the kitchens in their homes? Mary, who was probably something like 14 years old, give or take, is sitting at the dinner table with her parents and just before dessert, says something like “Hey mom and dad, can I talk to you about something? An angel showed up the other night and told me the most amazing thing. And, well, you’d probably better sit down for this…”
And then over at Joseph’s house, he can’t sleep a wink. When he finally passes out from fatigue, he has a dream in which he learns that the Holy Spirit is the Father of Mary’s baby. Try telling that one to the guys in the cabinet shop.
I suppose that if the first Christmas was filled with surprise and unexpected twists, why should we expect anything different today? It seems that God rather loves to fill the very familiar with surprise, wonder, and unexpected turns that take us from the twists of Christmas back into the mystery of the celebration!
The good news is that birth happens and can—and perhaps will change so much in all of us. Let’s not miss our turn this year.