In this second blog in a series, Sue Clutterham ponders on the relevance of a ‘long ago’ story for families today.
As a stunning bride, Kate Middleton walked down the long aisle of Westminster Abbey and reached Prince William who will, one day, be king of England. He leaned across to her father and joked, ‘This was meant to be a small, family occasion!’ The royal couple’s wedding was viewed by millions of people all over the world, but somehow, they managed to make the whole event personal and I found it a joy to watch. It certainly had the ‘Wow factor’!
It’s likely that Joseph would have expected his forthcoming marriage to Mary to be a small, family occasion. However, God had other ideas. Initially, things didn’t go according to plan (Joseph’s plan, that is). An unexpected pregnancy with a dubious explanation led to a hurried wedding. And yet God graciously reassured Joseph through an angel, confirming the outworking of his perfect plan through Mary’s unborn child. Read about it in Luke 1:26–38 and Matthew 1:18–25. Like Joseph, we can’t see the bigger picture. God can. He planned it, after all. He chooses to use us, despite our frailty and doubt, to fulfil his divine purposes. He works in us and through us… a definite ‘Wow factor’!
And then there’s Mary. Her simple, obedient response is an amazing example for us. Do we, when confronted with life-changing news, react like that? Do we say to God, as she did, ‘I am the Lord’s servant’? Mary became, at that moment of acceptance, extremely vulnerable. But God sustained her and no doubt her courage, and strength, came from him. Now there’s a situation with the ‘Wow factor’!
So what? What difference does this dramatic story make to our family life? Everything.
As Peter Larson, a Presbyterian pastor, wrote: ‘Despite our efforts to keep Him out, God intrudes. The life of Jesus is bracketed by two impossibilities: a virgin’s womb and an empty tomb. Jesus entered our world through a door marked “No Entrance” and left through a door marked “No Exit.”’
Can we make this truth impact our lives – God on earth, God in heaven, God in us? Daily? Hourly? Our thoughts, our words and our actions. Let’s live in a way that gives glory to the God of the ‘Wow factor’.
Sue Clutterham is passionate about ministry with children and families. She also enjoys writing and is always on the lookout for new ways to engage people with the Bible. Currently, she is a local mission partner with Scripture Union, working with the Archway Trust in five rural villages in Northamptonshire (UK) – a huge challenge, but exciting and encouraging!