The Christmas season is upon us again seemingly so soon. Once again, I’m reminded by the real reason for the season how God makes somebodies out of nobodies. That is ever so much a refreshing side of Christmas in a world where people strive to be great in the eyes of men. This is a side of Christmas that often doesn’t come to mind in the midst of all the parades, decorations, shopping, music, movies, plays and consumerism that Christmas has become now.
But truly, Christmas is all about how God makes somebodies out of nobodies. We have had to decide who would take care of our two baby girls, years ago, if my wife and I were to unexpectedly die together. Those of you who have experienced similar decision making for legal papers know what a difficult decision it is to make anytime. It becomes apparent, very quickly, no matter how great your relatives or friends might be, there is nobody exactly perfect for your child anymore than we were perfect. But yet, that is exactly the kind of decision that God had to make in regard to his one and only begotten Son.
Who would he choose? Would it be some mature couple who would make all the right decisions for his care? Would they have demonstrated a successful marriage and yet appear young enough to have a baby? Would they be wealthy enough to substantially care for this child and provide him the best of everything? Would this couple have other children so as to develop and learn proper parenting skills before handling this precious Son of God?
Is this the type of couple he would choose? Not exactly. If they were all of these things, then they would be a “Somebody” in the eyes of the world even back then. Instead, in all likelihood, not because of chapter and verse but because of the history of Jewish people, Mary was probably a teenager. The tradition was among Jewish people that they marry young.
Scholars like to speculate that Joseph was older but only because they have him meeting death before Jesus was fully raised. Again, not by chapter and verse, but by the mere fact that he is not mentioned again after Jesus’ trip to Jerusalem (Luke 2:41-51).
Regardless, remember they weren’t married at all at first when Mary became pregnant via the Holy Spirit. So much for the ideal long, proven and successful marriage scenario. The scorn, ridicule and outright rejection by the public, family and normally by a future husband would create anxiety, havoc and chaos in the life of a couple. If all of this is true, would this be the ideal couple you would choose to care for your children in the event of your death?
Probably not, so why did God choose this unlikely couple who were “Nobodies” to become “Somebodies”?
In regard to Mary, we do have chapter and verse in Luke 1:38, “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her. (NIV) She was a young woman of great faith, commitment and dedication to the will of God. Though she was a “nobody” in the eyes of the world, destined to be an outcast by “proper” Jewish society, normally rejected now by her future husband, she was still determined to trust God in her situation. That is what made her a SOMEBODY.
In regard to Joseph, just for starters, we are given chapter and verse a picture of the character of the man who God would choose to raise his Son. Character is more important than wealth, learned parenting skills through experience with other children, a long successful marriage or most other things we think of when trying to decide who would take care of our children in case of our death.
Think about it. Mary turns up pregnant and not by Joseph. Mary has this story about the Holy Spirit that he is supposed to accept. Who would have thought of anything but unfaithfulness, and an engagement back then was a legally binding contract like a wedding today? Men of lesser character would have been very angry, spiteful and eager to punish her with public humiliation and disgrace. But Joseph had a much more honorable character.
Joseph decided upon a different track than the usual for the day. Though a divorce was the normal route, Joseph wanted to pursue it differently. Consider Matthew 1:19: Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. (NIV) Without the full knowledge God would give him later, his character stands out as one to protect rather than destroy Mary. That is what made him a SOMEBODY.