Imagine a conversation with a WSU Cougar fan who just came back from a long camping trip without media access. “Hey, did we beat Miami in the Sun Bowl?” “No, the game got canceled because of Covid. Then another bowl got canceled. Then ours got un-canceled when a team from that other bowl came over to play us in the Sun Bowl.” Huh?
Life gets awfully strange when parts of it come together that don’t normally mix. Healthcare and sports usually only affect each other when someone gets injured on the field. Living through these strange times might give us an opportunity to appreciate some parts of scripture in a new way. The Bible is full of stories where people’s lives are interrupted by people or events that seem to be completely out of place.
Early January is a great time to reflect on the later parts of the Christmas story. Mary has already given birth to Jesus. The angels have made their proclamations, and the shepherds and wise men have made their visits. If all were right in the world, then Mary and Joseph would return home and begin raising their son.
But all is not right in the world. A local governor named Herod is more concerned with maintaining his power than with the earth-changing event that his territory was just been graced with. In Matthew 2:13 we read, “An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.’”
It is extremely strange to think that a regional governor like Herod could have such an important impact on something as spiritually profound as the birth of God among us. It’s even stranger than a virus changing the landscape of college football, I would say! When we see how Joseph responded, we learn what questions to ask when life gets strange.
Joseph tried to love and protect the people closest to him, and he looked for his role in helping Jesus and his message become available to the world. If we choose to respond to life the way that Joseph did, then we can find a way forward no matter how strange things get.
A Blessed New Year to You All.