As I ponder Christmas, I find myself wondering about what it would be like if it had all happened today. Put another way, how are you celebrating Mary’s crisis pregnancy? Are you, like Joseph, questioning love and doubting future plans?
Let’s unpack the above a little.
What does it mean to say Mary’s crisis pregnancy? Do you think that Mary, a young teenage girl, had this planned out all her life? That’s not to say that God didn’t have it planned? For Mary, it was a crisis. Why? Mary was betrothed to be married to Joseph. Betrothed is more than engagement, but not quite marriage. She was betrothed and pregnant and Joseph was NOT the baby daddy. Joseph was going to quietly divorce her. Mary, who was pregnant outside of marriage, was soon to be dumped by the man Mary was going to marry. Things were not looking good for “highly favored” Mary the one whom all generations will call “blessed among women.” Imagine the struggle Mary faced after accepting the word of the Angel of the Lord.
Imagine also the struggle that Joseph faced. All he knows is that his fiancé is pregnant by another, just days from their marriage. Joseph was a righteous man. He did right according to God and God’s Law. The right thing for Joseph to do, upon finding out that his fiancé was pregnant and knowing he was not the father was to quietly divorce her. He could, in fact, have publicly accused her of infidelity and had her stoned (read killed) for her adultery. He instead, mercifully, chooses to quietly dismiss her. She won’t be killed, but the wedding is canceled and people will talk. She will be shamed and abandoned in their small community.
Are there people like Mary and Joseph today? Are there young women today who are struggling with an unplanned pregnancy? Are there men (and women) like Joseph who give only judgement of pregnant women (or girls) in crisis?
If you could help, what would you do? Where would you take a young (teenage) and unmarried Mary in crisis facing abandonment by her Joseph? There are options. One option is the Fyndout Free Pregnancy Center, a place where pregnancy status is confirmed for free and support provided. FYND (For Your Next Decision) helps pregnant women (and dads) in crisis. They’re located at 1402 Wilbur Street, Fairbanks and are open Tuesday – Friday. Their number is (907) 455-8255 and their website is: https://fyndoutfree.com/
Here at St. Paul Church, we support the Fyndout Free Clinic to help young moms in crisis. We support as a church and we support individually. We do this, because we care and it’s the right thing to do. Perhaps we honor Mary and remember Christmas when we do so. Certainly we honor our Lord Jesus Christ in this midst it of all. Please pray for all facing the crisis of an unplanned pregnancy. It is always easier to judge, than to help. Take a moment and help. Merry Christmas to all the struggling Marys out there and to all.
The Rev. Stephen Reed
Pastor, St. Paul Church on Farmers Loop next to Mushers Hall
Chaplain, Fairbanks PD
Printed in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner's Faith Section on December 27, 2019
Married 25 years, 2 kids, 1 cat and 1 dog. Ordained & Chaplain for 20 years. Ministry philosophy - we're all in this together and Jesus leads the way. Hobbies: working in the woodshed, teaching, and competitive shooting