What do you think of when you think of Jesus? Do you find you can relate to him or do you think Jesus the God man can relate to you? Can Jesus understand your life situation? Do you think he’s the God man and you and your life is all messed up so how could he possibly relate? If you think like that, you’re not alone. Many people have those thoughts.
We want to help you take a look at the Jesus’ birth story from a different perspective. Maybe it’ll shed some light on Jesus and allow you to view Him and your connection and ability to inter-relate in a whole new light.
The Christmas story of Jesus includes not only a teen pregnancy, but also a teen pregnancy out of wedlock. We know this because it says so in the bible (Matthew 1:18 and Luke 1:26-27). During bible times, marriage happened in three stages and could begin as early as when the girl was twelve. Stage one the two families agree to be united. Stage two the couple formally agreed with witnesses present to marry. Thus, they were now “pledged” or “betrothed” which today would be like being engaged except they were now considered husband and wife and their relationship could only be broken through death or divorce. Stage three is when the couple were actually married and began living together and only then would they begin ‘sleeping together’. So in the scriptures we find out that this “pledged” or “engaged” stage (before marriage and any sexual relations) is when Mary gets pregnant.
Being an out of wedlock pregnant teen might not be such a huge deal in today’s culture but back then it was bad news. Today, a teenager can get pregnant without a great deal of social stigma attached to it. Sure it makes life a little harder (okay, maybe a lot) but it’s more common these days. Back in Jesus’ time, getting pregnant out of wedlock carried with it severe social disgrace and a death sentence. By law Joseph could have divorced her and the Jewish authorities could have had her stoned to death (killed by hurling large rocks at her – see Deuteronomy 22:20-21). In Jesus’ life story though there is neither disgrace nor death but God acts by granting grace.
In case you never knew this before or kinda glossed over it in Jesus’ birth story, Joseph wasn’t Jesus’ biological dad (see Matthew 1:18, 20 & Luke 1:35)! Think about this for a moment. Jesus’ dad Joseph raised a child that wasn’t his own flesh and blood. We know that later on Joseph and Mary had kids of their own accord because the bible mentions brothers of Jesus. Do you think Jesus ever felt like the odd kid out? Did he feel like dad loved the other kids more than him, the kids who were truly Joseph’s own flesh and blood? Did he get the same love, attention and time with dad that the others did? Do you have a step dad? Have you ever wrestled through these issues? Do you have a bf who has or is currently wrestling these things through?
Within days after his birth, Jesus was a refugee fleeing for his life. His race (the Jews) were under genocide of sorts because King Herod, out of fear of losing his position, issued an order to kill all male boys in Bethlehem and surrounding area. Thus, Jesus knows what it’s like to be on the run and have family scared for his life. He and his family experienced being in a foreign country and not knowing the language and customs. His family later returned to their homeland as oppressed natives as they were ruled over by the Romans. Can you relate to this? Are you and your family a refugee here in Canada? If so, what parts of being a refugee do you struggle with? What parts of being a refugee do you celebrate?
Jesus was born into poverty. Their family was shut out of the inn, likely showing the family’s lack of options and income. Has your family struggled to make ends meet? Do you wish you could fit into the social circles but lack the tech toys, transportation and clothing they have? Do you go without lunch or pack a lunch bag while others eat at the cafeteria all the time?
- Do you know any pregnant teens or people from split homes with a step mom or step dad?
- Do you know any refugees or people in poverty?
- How do you treat them or act towards them? Do you tease, bug, exclude or call them derogatory terms?
- How can you show and be God’s grace to these people you know or that are in your school/workplace or community?
- During Christmas do we reflect on Jesus’ story and particularly these aspects or do we focus on the shopping and gifts? Why?
- As we reflect on these aspects of the real Christmas story, where do we “see Jesus” today? Are we friends with him? Are we close to him?
So, a deeper look into the real Christmas story is an eye opener that stirs up some darker images than only the lights, gifts and cheer that usually accompany it. However, even in this darker more complete look at the Nativity Story a light shines through.
Are you a pregnant teenager or a refugee? Do you have a step dad or does your family struggle in poverty? If so, maybe Jesus can relate to you in more ways than you thought. Perhaps this Christmas you’ll experience new found hope and love in knowing Jesus isn’t so unfamiliar with your story.
Maybe you know someone at school/work or in your community who is a pregnant teenager, has a step dad, is a refugee or struggles in poverty. If so, share with them that maybe Jesus can relate to them in more ways than they thought. Perhaps this Christmas they’ll experience new found hope and love in knowing Jesus isn’t so unfamiliar with their story.
Merry Christmas & stick close to Jesus!
PS – if you’re a pregnant teen, have step parents, are a refugee or struggle in poverty and want to talk then drop us an email on our contact pg.