Sunday, December 7, 2014

18 Days Til Christmas

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to the Galilean village of Nazareth to a virgin engaged to be married to a man descended from David. His name was Joseph, and the virgin’s name, Mary. Luke 1:26-27

What do we know about Joseph and Mary? Tradition tells us that Mary was young, a teen-ager, possibly as young as fourteen. Joseph was older, maybe thirty years old or more. That was a common age spread for the time. We have a hard time putting that into our modern view of marriage. In addition, this was most likely an arranged marriage. Mary and Joseph probably knew each other through family ties, but they had never dated, as couples would today. They almost certainly hadn’t spent any time alone together.
But at that time, being engaged was the same as being married. It was a lifelong commitment which could only be legally broken by a divorce or death. The one difference between engagement and marriage at that time was that the couple was not yet living together.

How different marriage during biblical times seems to us. However, there are places in the world today where such traditions are still practiced.

If you are married, how long did you know your spouse before you were engaged? If you are single, how long do you think you should know someone before talking about marriage? And would any one of us not want to know our spouse until our wedding day? What does this tell us about God's definition of love compared with how the world views love?

(From "The Christmas Story in 40 Days", 
published by Life Sentence Publishing, 2013)

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