Reflection on Advent 4 2022 – Matthew 1:19,20

Then Joseph, her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream… Matthew 1:19,20

She was pregnant and, apparently, Joseph had a pretty good idea that he had nothing to do with it. They were betrothed which was quite a formal undertaking with serious consequences if broken. Adultery was one of the most severe violations. The consequences could be as severe as death. Particularly if Joseph had a mind to make a big issue of it.

He, however, was a nice guy and decided to dissolve this betrothal quietly. A quiet divorce would require a couple of witnesses and Joseph pleading his case. Of course it was a small town and a pregnancy was not something easily hidden, but, it was the decent thing to do.

The angel however had a different idea and what a crazy dream that must have been.

Not just nice guy decency but radical acceptance and compassion. Yep, she’s pregnant. Nope, it’s not yours, but you are to take Mary as your wife and the child and make them yours. Joseph would accept her, defend her, support her and her child and not settle for the decent thing to do, but step up to the extravagant response, not leaving Mary and the child to their own devices but jump into that life with them, all in, come what may.

We are not called to decency. We are not called to niceties. Jesus’ life and ministry would have been pretty much a waste if that was all we had. We are called to extravagance. We are called to messy, overwhelming, abundant, compassionate extravagance.

His peers would have heard about Joseph’s dream and said “Dude, That Is Crazy!”

If the rest of the world looks at the way we love and says, “Those people are cray-cray,” then we can be happy that our dreaming may be just about half crazy enough.