John 14: 18
18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
Weary from the road, discouraged, feeling alone and scared not a part of the celebration. A young teenage peasant girl and a hardworking carpenter must have felt this way as they tried to find a warm clean place to sleep. This pregnancy had been life changing in so many ways for them both and now as the time drew near this young carpenter sought out a place for his wife to rest as the time for birth was near. In his home town where he had family and friends, a place where his name had influence, suddenly had no place for them, no room to shelter and comfort them.
The stigma attached by society to a young unwed girl who was pregnant and surrounded by scandal had caused this young couple to be treated as outcasts. Joseph and Mary, young, in love, facing all of the normal challenges that newlyweds would face were also coping with a child conceived out of wedlock. They were concerned about making a home, income, getting to know someone on an intimate level and trying to accept all of their little idiosyncrasies, not to mention a new set of in-laws.
This would be challenge enough for any newlywed couple, but for these two they were the minor issues at hand. Explaining how Mary had gotten pregnant out of wedlock, that Joseph was not the real father, that she was carrying the Son of God, God Himself in her womb. Put yourself in their place, would those who know you believe it, would you believe it if it was your son or daughter? Men if you had been Joseph what would you have done? Would you have believed your bride to be if she turned up pregnant and you knew it wasnít your baby? In fact Joseph had thought that he would just break off the engagement quietly and let the whole thing blow over. But for their obedience perhaps the Son of God, Jesus, would have been an orphan.
Already outcasts, treated like strangers Joseph and Mary found themselves in the place of delivering and caring for God as a baby. They understood that the one and only true living God had abandoned His throne in heaven and was now ready to enter this world as a vulnerable and helpless infant. They realized that their role as parents for this baby of Deity was to care and protect the hope of all humanity. How easy it would have been to run from that task, and who could have blamed Joseph if he had? Joseph stood firm though, he knew that even as the surrogate father of the Son of God that his role was vitally important. It sent a message to the world that because of this baby called Jesus, the Son of God, because God Himself had become flesh that there will never again be an orphan in Godís kingdom. Because Joseph stood firm in the face of daunting circumstances God was able to demonstrate that there are no outcasts, no strangers of God.
In the confines of that damp musty cave filled with the sights and odors of a barnyard the final connection between God and man was made. Because of Mary and Josephís faith and obedience God transcended time, space, distance, and the physical world to unite us eternally with Him. Suddenly there was no longer any separation between God and man. No longer would we as humans be strangers to the power and love of our Savior. In that single event every one of us would now have the opportunity to be adopted into the kingdom of God. He had come to be hope for the hopeless, freedom for the oppressed, joy for those in sorrow, a Father for the Fatherless. God had come in flesh to assure us that never again would we be outcasts, strangers and that there are no orphans of God. May we all reflect the courage of Mary and Joseph, their obedience and their faith. Let us comfort those who are rejected, hopeless, fatherless and show them that Godís love is here, in us, and that they no longer have to be orphans, but the children of a King, the sons and daughters of God.