|Joseph and Mary|
The Gospel of John states, The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14
But grace and truth are not seen just in Jesus at Christmas. When Joseph finds out that Mary is pregnant and finds it difficult to receive her explanation, listen to the description given in the Scriptures about him and his actions:
And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her publicly, planned to send her away secretly. Matthew 1:19
Joseph was righteous and wanted to do what was right according to the law. She had violated their marriage vows. But love demanded that he not seek to destroy her. So he was planning to exercise grace in dealing with her. Truth and grace. And when God intervenes through the angel to confirm Mary's story, he readily takes her home as his wife and does not have relations with her until after Jesus was born. His desire was God's desires. He listened to Him.
There is a developed and continuing pattern today among people who call themselves Christians. It shows itself in the lauding of sermons, books and blogs about the grace of God while condemning as legalism any time truth is spoken about the sinful actions of our lives. Christ came to free us and guide us into truth. He Himself would tell Pilate later that those who are on the side of truth listen to Him. (John 18:37)
Because of the continuing epidemic of unrepentant sin among Christians, some wonder if it is worth sacrificially being a Christ-follower at all. And the good news today is "YES." Mary was pure and had a great reputation in heaven. Joseph was righteous, and full of grace, open to all that God desired. They were used of God because they were on His side, the side of truth. They listened to Him. So they were in a position to be used by Him.
God is so amazing. He is willing and desirous to show grace to all, no matter how deep our sin. But grace is given so that we can and will lead a life in truth. And those who walk in truth will be used mightily of the Lord, just as Mary and Joseph were.
Zechariah and Elizabeth fit this category too. We could name countless numbers of people through the centuries that sacrificially served Christ when their contemporaries did not and God highly honored and used them. How about you?
Christmas is an annual reminder that grace and truth are eternally connected and you can't claim one without living in the other.