12/02/2013 Leaning in to "God With Us"

Matthew 1:18-23 (The Message) 18-19 The birth of Jesus took place like this. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. Before they came to the marriage bed, Joseph discovered she was pregnant. (It was by the Holy Spirit, but he didn’t know that.) Joseph, chagrined but noble, determined to take care of things quietly so Mary would not be disgraced.

20-23 While he was trying to figure a way out, he had a dream. God’s angel spoke in the dream: “Joseph, son of David, don’t hesitate to get married. Mary’s pregnancy is Spirit-conceived. God’s Holy Spirit has made her pregnant. She will bring a son to birth, and when she does, you, Joseph, will name him Jesus—‘God saves’—because he will save his people from their sins.” This would bring the prophet’s embryonic sermon to full term:

Watch for this—a virgin will get pregnant and bear a son; They will name him Immanuel (Hebrew for “God is with us”).

Can you imagine?

Joseph is betrothed -- well into the Jewish process of marriage -- to a woman of God. He found out she was pregnant, even though they had never shared a marriage bed. Joseph knew the easiest way to end the marriage (the politically correct thing to do) was to dissolve the marriage process due to the pregnancy. Divorce was certainly appropriate, but as a man of integrity his desire was to divorce Mary as quietly as possible to protect her.

Then God intervened.

He charged Joseph to lean in to the challenge of the pregnancy. To ignore the "correct" thing to do in the eyes of the world and follow the calling that God has placed before him to be the earthly father of the Son of God. Joseph was asked to lean in to the promise that this child will be "God With Us."

Leaning in has become a very popular phrase over the past year or so, especially with working mothers feeling empowered to embrace challenges in their careers. Leaning in has been a very divisive concept and has, at times, started battles of words between career women and stay at home mothers. One side believes that leaning in is necessary to succeed and, even if unpopular or politically incorrect, is still the right thing to do for their careers. The other side believes that women should be primarily mothers first and their careers should be second, no matter the professional cost.

My intent today is not to start a battle on the topic of leaning in, but to give you a brief starting point for my thoughts today as I considered Joseph's challenge as he learned of Mary's pregnancy.

He had to battle against the popular choice of divorce when God stepped in and asked him to lean in to the Promise. Marrying Mary and raising her child was not an easy path for Joseph, by any means, and was probably greatly frowned upon by most of his peers. Joseph probably lost standing socially, professionally, and most likely within his extended family as well. Yet he persevered in leaning in to to God's challenge for him.

What does that mean for us to lean in to Jesus -- to God With Us?

For me, I'm finding it means making decisions to follow paths that lead me away from what is comfortable into things and pathways that are unknown and undefined. It means knowing that I can trust my connection with the Spirit and that God Is With Me even if I screw up as try to discern His will. God Is With Me. God Is With Us. Thank you.

I would love to hear from you about your journey of leaning in to God With Us today. Please share in the comments.

Blessings to you today! Lisa