"Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again..."

Location: Tampa, FL, United States

Friday, December 23, 2005

Expunging Shame

A couple of lesser emphasized verses from the Christmas story are found here:

Matthew 1:18 "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily."

"Public example" is rendered "disgrace" in other versions. Mary was pregnant and her betrothed--Joseph--and her, hadn't yet consummated their betrothal. Making the only reasonable assumption he could, Joseph sought to break things off with Mary because he believed she violated the Fifth Commandment--Thou shalt not commit adultery. You know the rest of the story. The angel appeared to him in a dream and explained it was the Holy Spirit that impregnated Mary and that he shouldn't be afraid to take her as his wife.

It's interesting that they lived in a society that understood adultery to be disgraceful. Our society today accepts, embraces and often trumpets adultery. With adultery redefined there's a concomitant acceptance of other sins and a pervasive deterioration in society at-large. Illiteracy, divorce, devaluation of currency, the increase in the power of the state, and the marginalization of families are evidence of the influence and escalation of adultery in our culture.

This didn't happen overnight. It's a slow, incremental process that silently and subtlely devours people indiscriminately with immense consequences. Much like onslaught of wrinkles and muscle wasting (i.e. aging), the acceptance of improper behavior isn't often realized until a good chunk of time has passed. Tis the season to wake up so we can all get jolly more often.


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