Even though most people consider this time of the year as Christmas, there are those of the Christian faith that emphasize the word Advent. The dictionary defines Advent as “a penitential season beginning four Sundays before Christmas” which begins on November 29, 2015 this year. The common meaning for the word advent means coming or arrival. Another word in the family of advent is adventure which includes a sense of danger or unknown risks.
Though the word Advent is not commonly used on Stinking Creek, it is part of the Christmas story. And, yes, the word Advent includes the story of Mary of Galilee as found in Matthew 1: 18-25. It says “when his mother had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found to be with child…”. Luke 1: 26-31 clarifies that Mary knew she would “bear a son”. In fact Luke 1: 34 sounds like it would be an adventure—a happening of unknown risks and even danger.
It reminds me of a situation I encountered as a teenager in the late 40’s. One of my classmates as a junior in high school “was found to be with child” shortly before the fun events such as the Junior/Senior prom. She soon encountered the adventure fraught with unknown risks. She was immediately expelled from all her classes and not allowed to participate in any school activities the rest of her junior year or senior year.
Now back to the Advent story as found in Matthew. It was not only a mis-adventure for Mary but for Joseph “being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly”. Moses law as found in the law books of the old Testament came down very hard on adultery—“shame” could mean being shunned by all the people in the community and even death by stoning. We even find reference to it in Jesus’ time in John 8:5 in the case of a woman brought to him to be judged whether she should be stoned to death.
So I think it is safe to use the term mis-adventure for Mary and Joseph—it certainly had a breath of the known and unknown risks and danger indeed. Yet today there are churches that emphasize “The Advent” as a beautiful and special time in the church life. It is a time to celebrate the arrival of the Christ Child as well as the Coming of the Lord. So come all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant and celebrate the season.