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Showing posts from December 17, 2010

Just When We’ve Made Our Minds Up, God’s Dreams Interrupt…

The Gospel appointed for this, the fourth Sunday in Advent, begins with the words, “Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way.” It goes on to describe the birth of Jesus from an unusual perspective: the perspective of Joseph. Jesus’ mother Mary was “betrothed” to Joseph. Remember what “betrothal” was in the Jewish marriage process.* It consisted of two steps. First, a formal marriage contract would worked out where a young man would be given marital and legal rights over a girl, usually when she was between twelve and thirteen years old. During this time of betrothal, the boy and girl would be considered “husband and wife,” legally, but the girl would continue to live at her own family home, usually for about a year. Second, after the year or so of betrothal, there would be a formal transfer or “taking of the bride” to the husband’s family home, and from that point on, he would be responsible for her support. During the time of betrothal, no marital relations were