"You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus." Luke 1:31
"It's a boy!" Those lovely words rang through the phone today when my son and daughter-in-law called with the results from the ultrasound. What music to my ears! Oh, I'd have been just as thrilled to hear "It's a girl!" but there's just something about your son having a son that makes a parent glad. It's like you're assured that your name, your family legacy, your place in history will hold it's place for at least one more generation.
Upon our living room mantle and piano, I proudly display our generational story with old black and white photos of great grandparents I've never met. Intermingled are more current family photos and I wonder, what will the stories be that my grandchildren tell? What snapshots of our times together will spin a yarn around their family table? Will they be proud to wear the family name?
And then I think of Mary. You know, the mother of Jesus? Her family wasn't so thrilled to hear the words, "It's a boy!" uttered from her lips. There was no celebration or public announcement or shouts of joy. There were only murmurs, accusations, hiding and tears. And, when Jesus was born, what legacy could Mary and Joseph ever offer him? Joseph was just a carpenter, and nothing they had or did could ever match to the riches and glory he left in heaven!
But the thoughts of leaving a legacy grew dim as the "now" of 2 a.m. feedings, kissing skinned knees and raising a growing family took precedence. Their family probably acted like any other family except for maybe those few times when Mary or Joseph lost their temper. Picture it. Mary's scolding her second-born and says, "I just don't know what I'm going to do with you! Why can't you just be more like Jesus?!" Oh man! Talk about second child syndrome and sibling rivalry! Or think about when Jesus went missing for three days and his parents finally found him in the synagogue. When they try to discipline Jesus for making them worry, Jesus says, "Didn't you know I would be in my Father's house going about his work?" (my paraphrase) Can't you just see Joseph standing there speechless except to say to Mary, "He's YOUR son!" But Mary, one hand on her hip, points towards heaven with the other and snaps, "Oh NO he's not!" I bet neither one said a word to each other on that long journey back home!
When all was said and done, Mary and Joseph had no legacy to leave Jesus. It was Jesus who left his legacy for them...for all of us. He took our punishment; hung in our place so that we might accept his eternal inheritance. He offers us life if we only believe so that in the end, "The King will say to those on his right 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world." (Matthew 25:34)