At the end of the Christmas Day service these words were used in blessing:
May the joy of the angels,
the eagerness of the shepherds,
the perseverance of the wise men,
the obedience of Joseph and Mary,
and the peace of the Christ-child
be yours this Christmas;
and the blessing of God Almighty,
the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit
be among you and remain with you always. Amen.
10 days ago I attended a school carol service and the same words were used at the end. On that occasion my mind set on the line about the perseverance of the wise men. On Christmas Day it was the obedience of the Joseph and Mary that tugged on my soul and hasn’t quite gone away.
Christmas Eve I couldn’t sleep and I was thinking about Mary in the stable. The fear and sadness of being so far from home and family. The pain of the birth, the discomfort of her surroundings. The strangeness of her relationship with Joseph. The unexpected visitors who turned up with expectations of her baby.
She was an extraordinary woman. Why did she go through all that she did ? She knew that this was God’s call on her life. She believed and she trusted. She was obedient.
Obedience is a hard word and a hard concept.
But I know that obedience to God is also a choice to line up life with the possibilities offered by the King of Kings.
Mary was not a super-human. She was a woman.
A woman who listened to God and consequently as she kissed the face of her baby she kissed the face of God.
I guess that’s where obedience can lead.
‘If you listen obediently to the Voice of God, your God, and heartily obey all his commandments that I command you today, God, your God, will place you on high.’ Deuteronomy 28 v 1