Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Reconciliation At Christmas

A friend is in the process of reconciling with family.  It has been a matter of prayer for years.  This is the year of reconciliation for them.  Christmas Eve is their target date; it's been years since they celebrated Christmas together.  But.  The death of a family member caused them to reconsider their separation.
Have you noticed how relationships are more important than ever at Christmas to most of us?  At the same time, Christmas seems to highlight severed relationships, causing great pain from rejection and loss.  
It makes me wonder about Mary, the mother of Jesus.  I'm sure Mary had seen what had happened to young women who had become pregnant before marriage by another man.  There's no mention of her mother or father helping her through the pregnancy or delivery.  Most likely they had some kind of blow up, some kind of drama, some kind of bad ending.  And. We know Joseph was ready to divorce Mary after being told she was pregnant by God.

The truth has always been extremely important to me.  Tell me the truth.  We will work out the rest.  Lie to me and it won't go well with me.  And.  It clearly seemed Mary was lying when she pulled the God-card, "God did it."   So, with these things in mind, consider:
This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about : His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. (Matthew 1: 18, 19, NIV)

For Joseph, obeying the law was premium:  He was faithful to the law. And we know he was a good man:  He did not want Mary exposed to public disgrace. But.  He would've done what he had to do:  Divorce her.   Imagine the pain Mary had, she was not believed, but rejected by the one person who had pledged to live with her the rest of her life.

God stepped in: 
 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1: 20, 21, NIV).  

We are not told about any other reconciliation stores between Mary and her friends and family. But.  We have insight into the reconciliation between Joseph and Mary.  Joseph not only received word from God, but believed and surrendered to the truth of what God said.  We know they reconciled and their relationship was restored.  So.  We know Mary had to extend Joseph forgiveness, grace, and mercy for the not believing her and rejecting her.
Reconciliation is why Christ came, it's the reason for Christmas, to reconcile humanity with God. In the end, true reconciliation is the work of God.  There are some relationships that seem too painful to ever be restored.  But.  With God, nothing is impossible.  It begins with surrendering to the forgiveness, grace, and mercy of God, willingly extending it to the very one(s) who may have caused the greatest pain in your life.  When that occurs, reconciliation has begun and you will receive the peace of God, regardless of what the rest of the story looks like.  
Reconcile with God and others through the power of Christ.

Learning to Kickstart the day through the reconciling power of God.

(written by Kerrie Carlisle Palmer © 2011 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)