“Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife,
for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus,
for he will save his people from their sins.”
Matthew 1: 20–21
A few weeks ago, we celebrated an early Christmas with our grandkids: a 3-year-old boy, an 11-month-old girl, and an 8-month-old boy. As you can imagine, the celebration was loud. And lively. By the end of the festivities, the grandparents were begging for naps. Not so the wee ones. They vigorously objected to the prospect with all their hearts. Their parents needed every ounce of cunning and endurance, along with every lullaby in their repertoires, until the grands fell under the Sandman’s spell.
Without their parents’ concern for their welfare and safety, our beautiful grandchildren were clueless. On their own, they couldn’t choose what was good for them. They were completely vulnerable. Totally dependent on the kindness and compassion of the adults who love them.
As I watched, a thought popped into my head. “God, what were you thinking when you sent the Savior of the world–the One appointed to save us from our sins–to earth as a baby who’s life depends upon the goodness of a teen mom and a reluctant dad?”
Scripture clearly states that this was God’s plan. More than once, the Bible says that the baby born to Mary was the Savior. On the other hand, God’s Word doesn’t explicitly explain why He made such a plan.
However, the New Testament showcases vulnerable people. Jesus’ ministry is a veritable hit parade of vulnerability: children, the poor, lepers, widows, the blind, the lame, the disfigured, the mentally ill, the disenfranchised, the oppressed, the elderly, the dying.
The Savior of the world never condemned the vulnerable people he encountered. He never looked down on them. Instead, he healed them. He loved them. In John 9:1–3, Jesus announced that vulnerability is not an accident. Rather, it is part of the Father’s sovereign plan.
As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him,
“Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents,
but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” John 9:1–3
With those word, God spoke value and purpose into the life of every person, even the most compromised. Those words are a call for us to affirm the value of every life. God calls us to be like Mary and Joseph. To get our hands dirty, even when affirming life is difficult. God’s call may look different for each of us. One person may counsel and support unwed mothers. Another may work in the church nursery or teach children’s Sunday school. Some families may pursue adoption. Others may visit with the elderly at the nursing home. Some may devote their days to the care of their children with disabilities or aging parents.
Like Mary and Joseph, we are all called to value life. When a teen mother and a reluctant father obeyed God’s call, redemption came to a fallen world. What could happen when you heed God’s call? Today’s a good day to find out.