Given by Rev. Madison Shockley December 22
Having a child is complicated. Joseph should have been happy. He was male, reasonably successful, and respected in society. Yet, having a child is a big responsibility. A woman’s health is in danger during a pregnancy. Joseph had the added stress that Mary was not pregnant by him which can bring shame to both Mary and himself in society. Joseph’s sleep was disturbed as he contemplated this issue. Joseph wanted to do the right thing. He struggled to understand what that would be. Mary’s life would be in danger. Joseph decided to not make the divorce public. Joseph would lose the dowry. This avoided having Mary punished. Public shaming would have restored Joseph’s honor in society yet he did not choose this option. Then, he had a dream. A dream that allowed him to see beyond the culture of honor and shame. Joseph allowed his compassion to overcome his righteousness. He defied his culture and shared in Mary’s shame. Sometimes, it takes something extraordinary for us to believe another world is possible. It does not need to be as it has always been. It is thinking in a revolutionary way that guides us to change the world for the better. Are we compassionate enough to decline our privilege and share in the shame/pain of those around us?