Building the #Nativity: (#christmas) Mary & Joseph

There are very few pictures of Mary and Joseph that are not Joseph pulling Mary on the Donkey for Bethlehem.

donkey

We aren’t there yet, though.

Besides, they aren’t Even LOOKING at each other!

But I can tell that Mary and Joseph aren’t really pictured before Jesus. Even though, they had some kind of relationship as they were engaged. Let’s face it, Mary and Joseph probably were from the same small town and knew each other really well, no matter how well they knew each other.

MaryJoseph.jpg

So this week we filled in the first characters by telling of when Gaberial tells Mary and then Joseph about Jesus coming. Its interesting because as the artwork shows, we clearly do not picture them together.

There are two distinctly similar portions to these accounts. The first of which were that Mary and Joseph were the afraid.

Can you imagine how they each felt seeing an angel? How worried they were about this unknown, and surprising child? Jesus Christ is probably the most surprising child ever!!

No wonder they were afraid.

Today is also the Hope week of Advent. You know what hope is? ITs saying yes when you don’t know what will happen.

That’s Mary and Joseph.

That’s parenthood too, when you have a child you don’t really know what is going to happen.

My mom remembers women who swore they would come back to work after having a baby, and then realize they couldn’t stay home. Then she knew others who were trying to stay home who were going crazy and needed to go back to work. This taught her that parenthood is one of those things you have ideas about, but you don’t really know until you get there.

And even if you have a partner in parenting, that person wouldn’t necessarily parent the same way. In fact sometimes what works for one parent doesn’t work for the other.

In a way we are all Mary and Joseph, trying to figure out how to relate to Christ. Each of us working to get to know him in our own way.

Faith is a bit by parenting. You have ideas about how it should work, but you don’t really know what practices and theories work for you until you put it into practice. Active, Contemplative, Environmental, Introspective there are many ways to practice faith.

I think of how afraid Mary is that Joseph is going to leave her, and Joseph so afraid about the leaving he thinks they must do. Each of them being afraid, and lonely in that fear.

Church is unique too, because just like a family, even though our practices are different other people’s faith practices can inform our own. Even if those particular practices are never our cup of tea, we can still strengthen one another by sharing about our faith.

Family is that way too!

Last year I talked about how we are the family in the waiting room, waiting for Christ and becoming family. We are becoming family through church.

When Joseph hears that he should keep the baby & Mary, that’s the moment they start to become Family. Before Christ even arrives.

As we build the nativity, we might each be drawn to different characters, but look at the variety of family, friends and strangers that come to see Jesus. This is because God invites each and every one of us to become a part of the family.

can-stock-photo_csp14859743

Heck, Jesus wasn’t really the son of Joseph, but the practice of inviting others to be a part of the family start with Joseph, continues with the Nativity,then the Jews, then eventually we are all adopted as brothers and sisters in Christ.

I think of when Joseph is no longer alone in his fears, of the moment when he tells Mary what he was hoping and worrying about Jesus, and Mary shares back. This is the moment they become family, before Jesus is even born.

(Here is our version of the family, we made with the kids as Our First Building the Nativity Ornaments)

This is what I think happened then, even tho there is no such art of Mary and Joseph

We do not have to be a certain ethnicity or worship a certain way or even read the Bible in a certain language. That’s because the Good News of Jesus Christ is translatable. Christianity can fit into any culture (when we do it right).

We are all invited to come and join the nativity, so join us as we build the nativity this Advent season

 

 

 

The Waiting Room: #adoption #narrativelectionary #joseph #christmas

Jesus is adopted

http://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=2259 here is a good resource to start thinking things and another one http://revgalblogpals.org/2014/12/16/narrative-lectionary-dreams-and-adoption-rooted-in-faith/ …but Jesus is adopted by Joseph

as scripture describes here

This fact is so, so important in understand who Jesus is…..He’s family…http://theinmanclan.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/the-painting-004.jpg

NPR’s The Moth  recently played Jillian Lauren’s tale of adoption

(Full 12min story here)

She flew to Africa to find her child, and was terrified, because a friend of hers had just come back from a Russian adoption empty-handed.

She had been warned that some of the people in her group were “super-Christian” so she decided to cover her tattoo, avoid talking about homosexuality (because even if they were nice, they probably actually hated them) and stop cursing.
She makes the long flight over and goes to the orphanage, where amongst beautiful babies, she and her husband are the last ones called over, and finally, finally they get to meet Tariku, for the first time and plays with him all day..and then has to put him back (at which point she wants to run away with him in her arms) until the next day. She describes the promise ceremony, where they meet the mother, who is still a young teenager, and formally hand over the care of the baby. The mother said, that Tariku’s name meant, his story because he already had such a story to tell.

This put me in mind of Jesus Christ’s story…of how he is and was the word of God how he had a story before he was born and that part of adopting Jesus is adoption of the word of God adoption of that whole story of creation….

Back to Jillian and her husband…they get to the embassy for the paperwork, and they get through the line, and the clerk tells them that they cannot adopt Tariku, because they can only adopt up to 4months…Jillian and her husband explain that it is a typo and should say 4yrs, so he goes in the back….

and they wait, and they wait, they wait hrs and there is no word, they don’t know where he’s gone or what he is doing, so by now they are asking frantically for help.

They reach a social worker who listens and also disappears in the back…

Meanwhile, of course, all the other parents received their paperwork fine, they have their cute diaper bags and their children and are ready to rest up for the long flight home tomorrow…

but they wait with the couple who is trying to figure out how to get Tariku …Tariku’s new parents wait, and all the other families wait with them…and their kids all play on the dirty floor together, they all wait beside this almost family….and finally, finally the official comes back and says everything is cleared up…and he-didn’t-know-why-they-were-so-worried-anyway….

Jillian explains how this experience formed a new family for her, for while they were awaiting to adopt Tariku, the people there adopted them…….and they became family, one that meets up regularly and keeps in contact…

Joseph adopted Jesus…just as Mary became mother, Joseph waited for him, and became his father…in fact all the people who were there…all those who had been waiting: the shepherds, the wise men, Mary & Joseph, all of them became a family…

Isn’t this what we practice every year? Aren’t we awaiting a Christ who will be adopted by us, and within that waiting, those-who-are-waiting become a family….and it doesn’t matter how different we truly are, because we have Christ in common. We wait, and we celebrate with one another and we mourn with one another and we do the hard waiting with one another….We wait for Christ at Christmas, because we are practicing, awaiting Christ’s return!

“For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, ‘Abba!* Father!’ 16it is that very Spirit bearing witness* with our spirit that we are children of God, 17and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.” Romans 8:16-17

We adopt Christ, Christ adopts us

and somehow, through the love of Christ, we end up adopting each other….

That is what we do every Christmas…that is what the church is….a waiting room for Christ….one where we learn how to love each other as family….

Maybe that’s why every time I walk into a church, I feel like I am home

Painting from http://theinmanclan.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/the-painting-004.jpg

“Here comes thi…

“Here comes this dreamer. Come now, let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits; then we shall say that a wild animal has devoured him, and we shall see what will become of his dreams.” Genesis 37: 19-20

How do we keep dreaming? I’m a bigtime dreamer. It gets me into trouble. People think I’m flighty or unrealistic i.e. I’m a chufflehead.

But there is a lot of Biblical dreaming, and a dreamer.

And the church, the church is a dreamer too…

I think we need to give ourselves the freedom to dream…