Mary stayed to help Elizabeth.
Her home was far away.
Three months later she came home
And people stared in great dismay.
For they could see she was with child
Her stomach it did show
And Joseph wondered what to do –
Still marry? He didn’t think so.
Read this account for yourself in Matthew 1:19
Put yourself in Mary’s shoes. She had accepted God’s plan, but now people were pointing and staring. She was legally engaged but appeared to be untrue to Joseph her fiancé.
Now try on Joseph’s shoes. He was under a legal contract to marry Mary, but if she proved to be unfaithful, he could have her stoned. He didn’t want to harm her, but had decided to quietly divorce her instead.
Two things stand out to me in this situation. First is Mary’s faithfulness and trust in God. There is no indication that she cowered in fear. Instead she courageously faced life as it came.
Second is the understanding that things aren’t always what they seem. How easy it is to make a quick judgement based on insufficient information. Joseph’s first decision was merciful, yet still misguided. But God hadn’t abandoned either Mary or Joseph.
Take time to contemplate whether you have ill will toward anyone that might be based on incomplete information about a given situation. Ask God to lead you to a better understanding so that you can have compassion on this person.
This devotional message corresponds to the fifth mini-story in The First Christmas by Janice D. Green. The First Christmas is available here.