[message for the MOPS Christmas event at Faith Lutheran Church]
This is a great theme for Advent and Christmas. Not only are there a number of mothers in the stories we hear around Christmastime, there are a lot of messy things going on. There are the miracles of the conceptions of both John and Jesus, one in the womb of a woman who has long been barren, and one in the womb of a woman who has never known a man in the Biblical sense. Now, we know that those are miracles, but miracles are open to interpretation, and we can bet that not everyone who found out about either of these pregnancies believed that Zechariah, Mary, and Joseph had been visited by messengers from God. In this world, the actions of God get a little messy. And that is never more clear than in the genealogy of Jesus. Normally, other people’s genealogies are never as interesting to us as our own. But if you want to see a mess, look at Jesus’ genealogy. There are a lot of twisted branches on that family tree. In Matthew 1:16, we have Mary, whose pregnancy would have been much more scandalous in her time than it would be in ours. There is a reason why Joseph was going to put her away quietly. Because if he does it publicly and noisily, she will probably be stoned to death. But that doesn’t necessarily make him completely honorable: he was still going to put her away.