Contemplative Life

Christmas Mystery of Marriage

In the Joseph portion of the Christmas story (Matthew 1: 18-24), Joseph reverses his decision to put Mary away due to his encounter with an angel of the Lord who comes in a dream.

In the Mary portion of the Christmas story (Luke 1: 26-56), Mary accepts the word of the angel Gabriel and invites the Lord to fulfill his Word in her obedience.

Imagine Joseph and Mary and their ensuing conversations. Together they have as much of the complete story as they will ever have. Only Mary knew the truth about her virginity and only they knew the story of their sexual experience as a couple up to that point. Each was visited separately by an angel of the Lord. Their original plans have radically changed on them. In each case they had an encounter with the Holy. They knew. They KNEW. THEY KNEW. Nothing could take away this fundamental experience and their intimate knowledge of its details. From the very beginning of their life together, they needed each other to complete their mission from the Lord: raising His son, their son, Jesus. As events unfolded, each had to trust the other.  Imagine times of frustration when each may have been tempted to drop the trump card, “The Lord told me … .” Imagine times of sadness or joy when they could comfort and affirm each other with, “remember when … .”

The Lord has reversed the events leading up to the Fall in the Garden of Eden. He comes first to Mary and she accepts. He then comes to Joseph, who also accepts the Lord’s word. Then Joseph accepts Mary’s word. It is the Lord who comes first to each of us with His word.

This Christmas season, I am thankful for my wife and the mystery of marriage.

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