This is how the birth of Jesus Christ took place. When Mary his mother was engaged to Joseph, before they were married, she became pregnant by the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband was a righteous man. Because he didn’t want to humiliate her, he decided to call off their engagement quietly. As he was thinking about this, an angel from the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because the child she carries was conceived by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you will call him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Now all of this took place so that what the Lord had spoken through the prophet would be fulfilled:
Look! A virgin will become pregnant and give
birth to a son,
And they will call him, Emmanuel.
(Emmanuel means “God with us.”)
When Joseph woke up, he did just as an angel from God commanded and took Mary as his wife. But he didn’t have sexual relations with her until she gave birth to a son. Joseph called him Jesus.
“First we’ll make snow angels for two hours, then we’ll go ice skating, then we’ll eat a whole roll of Tollhouse Cookie dough as fast as we can, and then we’ll snuggle.” — Buddy
Poor Buddy. He wants it all. Not just snow angels . . . two hours’ worth. Not just some cookie dough . . . a whole roll of it.
And while it’s not explicitly written out, I imagine Mary and Joseph are hungry for the same thing. Like every engaged couple, wouldn’t they also want all of the trappings of a new marriage?
At the beginning of everything new, it seems everything should be possible, and the Christmas season seems to draw this feeling out of us a bit more than, say, Flag Day. Perhaps this season is calling for us to observe some delayed gratification, or to see through our expectations of gifts and parties and obligations. We know that not one of these characters — Buddy, Mary, or Joseph — got what they wanted in the moment. But through patience and understanding, they ended up with more than what they could have known to ask for.
God of incredible patience, open our eyes to the possibility that we don’t know what’s best, calm us during a season of endless demands, and give us vision to see that waiting for what’s in store carries all sorts of unexpected blessings. Amen.