We Are All Part of the Story
Prior to the birth of a child, a pregnant mother will often begin to “nest” to prepare for bringing home a new baby. This time of year, during the Advent Season, the ritual of preparation is all around us.
The excitement of Christmas preparation and the expectancy of abundant gifts crowd our minds. We are planning dinners and preparing for who will join us at our family celebrations. We are also preparing for our new year’s resolutions in anticipation of how we plan to improve our lives to become our perfect selves.
How often do we read scriptures looking for something to correlate to our everyday existence? There are times when the scriptures read so lofty that it can be difficult to find ourselves within a story, lesson or parable. As I revisited the story of how the Angel Gabriel announced the impending birth of Jesus to both the Virgin Mary and her betrothed Joseph, I saw how portions of our lives are revealed in their story.
For the first time, I saw the new family of Joseph, Mary and Baby Jesus to be what we would now call a “blended family.” I saw Joseph in his new role as an adoptive father of a child that was not of his own flesh. I wondered why God did not choose a happily married and stable couple to conceive and raise his most precious gift. I wondered why He chose an unmarried couple who would face public scrutiny and turmoil over a pregnancy conceived before marriage, which would cause her to be questioned by her betrothed Joseph.
And while I may not have come up with a definitive answer for my wonderment, there is comfort in reading these words because it reminds us that greatness to the likeness of Christ can come out of the most imperfect circumstances. Even today, we still use uncomfortable words like “bastard” to describe a child born out of wedlock. We have “throw-away” children in foster care. We belittle a child based on how they were conceived or to whom they were born. We allow life’s circumstances to overshadow the miracle of birth and the anticipation of the greatness that is possible through that child.
As a divorced and single biological mom and adoptive parent of three, I am encouraged by Christ’s preparation story in that human circumstances may not all be ideal, but that God can make any situation perfect, as he did with the birth of his own son. I can see ahead toward the greatness of my children who were not born in the best of circumstances, and I am encouraged that even an imperfect “blended family” can be part of the story.
As United Methodist Women our mission work often surrounds the imperfect, and regardless of their life circumstance, they are included in the story as they live and breathe under God’s sufficient grace and the life of his Son.
So this year, as I “nest” in preparation for the birth of Jesus, maybe instead of worrying so much about finding the perfect gift or the perfect dinner display, I will embrace the imperfect — knowing that I, too, am part of the story.
Michelle Y. Clemons is the Human Resources Director for United Methodist Women.