Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Beyond Christmas (Section 6b of the Nameless Luke Advent Thingee)

A Commitment to Righteousness

Sometimes I don’t finish well. For example, I don’t feel like writing this post today. I’m sensing a great accomplishment coming on. Posting for a full month consecutively on the blog. But it wouldn’t take much for me to blow it off. I don’t know who’s reading this, but I know there aren’t many. I’m a bit ADD so I’d happily move past Christmas now and not worry about this any longer.

Mary and Joseph have done the heavy lifting here. They’ve borne the shame in Nazareth. They’ve processed their confusion with angelic intervention. Mary has given birth to Messiah. Joseph has stood by and will take the role of parenting this child that is not his own.

We might excuse them if they cut some corners. They don’t. Check it out.

Read Luke 2.21-24

What’s this all about? It was time for circumcision. So they did it. It was time for purification. So they did it. As righteous people, they fulfilled the expectations God put upon them through the Law.

Think of the excuses they may have had to cut corners. They’re poor (they gave two birds instead of a lamb). Marry got a pass on being an unwed mother and Joseph received a divine permission slip via an angel to excuse Mary. In short, they’ve had unmatched spiritual experiences. They’ve also suffered. Remember the looks Mary would have received? Joseph would be thought weak for not divorcing her – or it would be assumed he really was the father. They paid their dues. None of us would blame them for taking an easy way out.

But that’s not what they’re made of. They are committed to righteousness. They’re going to set a great example for their Messiah-Child.

It’s important to focus on Jesus during this time of year, but we shouldn’t forget the examples of those who are around Him. Mary and Joseph are committed to righteousness. Righteousness sometimes has bad connotations: legalism, boredom, dour faces. But it seems like it is something different in their lives. I might be reading too much into it, but there seems to be an eager overflow of grace in their lives.

They’ve been taken on quite a ride. When you experience God and walk faithfully, the response isn’t to cut corners. It’s to move in ways that please God.

As you’ve sought to experience God during this Advent season, how has it affected your righteousness? Are you more inclined to keep following Him closely into the New Year? What will that look like? If you’re not inclined to follow Him, what are the things that are holding you back?

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