Wonder: Marriage on Mission

I admire the heart of Jennifer Upton. She writes because of the way her words can help others. When I had the pleasure of meeting her in person this fall, she shined bright with the love of Christ. I hope her words shine that light to you today.


My heart has trained my eyes to appreciate marriage through the lens of covenant and the sweet love sometimes tasting of bitter that is ordained to pour from within its fountain. As I began reading with reverence the covenant story of Joseph and Mary I knew if given the opportunity I must share them as One. For me to posture my telling any other way would be for my once shattered heart to separate, to place a wedge between what God so artfully knit together.


Marriage through the view of my lens is the closest reflection of Christ and His church and this marriage serves as stunning example. Joseph and Mary were a “Yes Couple” choosing to be infected by a Holy Loving God rather than medicating their souls with self; to be a reflection of and live in response to His purpose.


They heard from the Lord as they sought to live out his will and responded by arising and embarking upon sacred journey. They brought forth in the giving of birth. They marveled being filled with wonder and astonishment in their presenting of wrapped joy. They stayed when it was time to stay and returned when it was time to return.


They quickly learned that Covenant was about life on mission relying not on acts of emotion, but the given message of God; to bring him glory in their going in preparation of the coming- the coming of our Savior.


“Because Joseph her husband was a righteous {virtuous, moral, good, just, blameless, upright, honorable, honest, respectable, decent} man and did not want to expose {embarrass, make vulnerable, damage, leave without protection} her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly." (Matthew 1:19 emphasis added)


The opposite of expose is to cover and Joseph who lay with felt abandonment believing his wife engaged in adultery ensuing in unborn life chose the path of honorable covering. He held within him the heart cry to cloak her and the unborn child in an offering of grace. He deemed Mary as valuable offering special consideration for her well-being choosing to respond to carried love rather than the hurt he bore. Though he was drawn into unrest no demand for justice could be heard crying out in his midnight hour.


“But as he considered {looked attentively at} these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:20-21 emphasis added)


His fears justified with proof seeming evident but in truth his wife was chosen, set apart and innocent of humiliating accusation. This is a story of more, of seeing beyond swollen eyes and shattered lens. The surface no matter how vivid must be splintered and pulled away to see beauty contained within immeasurable depths, to hear angelic song and heavenly command. Their marriage would warrant seeing through fresh lens- the lens of Holy and set apart.


“When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.” (Matthew 1:24-25)


This is an exquisite portrait of leading your Covenant Love in a way that builds her up and honors her while glorifying The Father. Mary supported alongside not blindly but in response to her spoken commitment to God “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). Between them they carefully transported the extraordinary name of Jesus.


A man that builds with his hands possesses vision and Joseph was a builder. With divine guidance Joseph was able to see past what lie before him, to trust the Master Carpenter. A woman that prays possesses the sacred art of communion, the drawing near and Mary was a woman who prayed. The mission beheld as One was fulfilled calling for the embracing of sacrificial living every stride and limp step and stumble along their path.


They beheld what we very much yearn for- the audible sound and felt touch of Jesus. Lungs filled with the voice of God crying out “Savior!” The quantity of years spent together before “death did they part” is a God sized mystery, but I trust the time in which they shared to be enough.


This advent story is a testament of the unquenched, the going for the coming arrival of our Holy and Beloved promise. In the going of Joseph and Mary, the choosing to live marriage on mission, to say yes to a greater purpose outside of self, the light of revelation was birthed.


Their example speaks straight to the heart of my own restored covenant, the core of which we now are, the vein through which we now bleed, the lens through which we now see. I can only pray that my marriage would shadow the journey of their going in order for Christ to come.


About Today's Guest Blogger: Jennifer Upton

Many say I travel too deep, but I say one can never travel deep enough. Lover of all things turquoise & iced soy lattes. Covenant love to Tony, momma to Austin. The desire to write stories lived won’t remove its grip from me. Without understanding the purpose I keep going. I keep trusting. I blog at Spiritual Glasses and tweet at @SpiritlGlasses.


Wonder: Rediscover the Christmas Story is an Advent series designed to help us pause and reflect on how amazing the stories of Jesus’ birth really are. To break through the cluttered busyness of the season and touch our hearts with the awe of what God has done. Let’s make this a season of wonder and worship, marveling together at our great God.