Earlier this year, I wrote and self-published my first book, “The Jumbo Shrimp Gospel.” The book is about the oxy-moronic nature of the kingdom of God. One of the chapters, “Supernaturally Ordinary,” looks at the birth of Jesus. “JSG” would make a great Christmas present! By one for yourself and one for that special someone. Click on the blue Lulu logo over to the right. Now, onto an excerpt from the book…
Plain Jane Messiah
Jesus’ parents weren’t exactly Palestine’s version of a Hollywood power couple. Joseph and Mary were descended from royalty, but by the first century AD the glory of Israel’s monarchy had long since faded.
Mary’s miraculous pregnancy would have thrust the couple into a community scandal. Although Joseph and Mary were not officially married at the time of Jesus’ conception, first century betrothal was legally binding and could only be broken by death or divorce. Joseph would have been expected to divorce Mary, either publicly with a trial that could have ended in her death or privately before two witnesses. God intervened, and Joseph did the unexpected—he married his betrothed anyway (a massive act of faith). The couple would be shrouded in suspicion. After all, who’s going to believe that a pregnant girl didn’t arrive at that state through the usual means?
Add to this that Joseph was a carpenter. Like most Jewish boys, Joseph didn’t advance to the highest levels of the Jewish educational system. Instead of becoming a rabbi, he learned the family trade. In the days before labor unions, Joseph’s trade wasn’t lucrative. When the couple took Jesus to the temple to present him to the Lord and to offer the required purification sacrifice, Luke notes that they offered a pair of birds—the offering of the impoverished.
Joseph and Mary didn’t fit the expectations for the parents of the King. They were so… ordinary.
 See the genealogies of Jesus in Matthew 1 (Joseph’s line) and Luke 3 (Mary’s line).
 Luke 2:22-24.