So here is something else from my clergy writer’s group.  Remember, these are timed writes, one quick draft only that ends when time is out.  This happened back before Christmast during Advent:

Expectations.  Pleasing other people.  We all have them.  We all do it.  Face it:  if we didn’t meet some expectations and please some people, we wouldn’t have jobs.  We wouldn’t have families.  We couldn’t function.

That’s not to say you have to meet all expectations and please everyone.  You couldn’t if you tried.  (Have you tried?)

God certainly has not met all our expectations.  And Jesus certainly did not please everyone.  But wait.  We’re in Advent still.  That surprising season that leads us into what God actually did d0, whether or not we liked it or expected it.  And I guess we have to live with that.

I don’t imagine Mary is what anyone expected.  What was she?  Maybe 12 or 14 years old?  Married, but not living with or sleeping with her husband.  On the cusp of having a life.  A life that depended on her new husband.  Because she couldn’t have a job.  She couldn’t hold property.  Her life, really, would seem to depend on Joseph.

And this new, pregnant Mary was certainly not what Joseph expected or wanted.  It was considered a kindness on his part that he was thinking of ending the marriage quietly and without stoning.

And for that matter, Joseph wasn’t what was expected either.  He was a carpenter for heaven’s sake.  He had no real standing or prominance.

The idea that God would come to us through these two people is shockingly unexpected.  I mean, we’ve heard and celebrated the story so often that we don’t ever really hear it.  How would you respond if someone told you their child was come as God’s gift to us?  Would it strengthen their case if you knew they were Palestinian refuges?  That she gave birth perhaps even before the formal date of her marriage in a feeding trough?

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