Avoiding a tabloid gospel

While he [Joseph], considered these things an angel of the Lord came to him in a dream and said, “Do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for that which has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.” Matt. 1:20

The Nativity story had the potential to become a very messy “he said-she said” tabloid tale. In the  The Gospel of Luke Mary and even her cousin Elizabeth get inside information from angels about Mary’s unexpected pregnancy. The Gospel of Matthew explains how Joseph took it when Mary gives her version of her pregnancy story. Though understandably hurt and confused, Joseph seems to have processed the situation with a gracious attitude even though the most reasonable explanation is that Mary cheated on him. It was only after extending grace and keeping an open mind that Joseph gets a dream and angels to offer clarity and confirmation. A reactionary response could have locked Joseph out of that experience. We don’t usually get dreams or angels to clear up ambiguity in our lives. What we do get is the opportunity to choose to manifest grace, to extend the benefit of the doubt, and to leave God room to guide our responses.

Lord, when I don’t have clarity (and even when I think I do) help me respond with a gracious spirit and an open mind.