“Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.” Matthew 1:19
Some people believe that pregnancy is just a “woman’s issue,” but nothing could be further from the truth. Even in the case of the virginal Mary, there is always a man involved. Most of the time there are grandparents, sometimes siblings, usually friends and neighbors. And because we don’t have God’s foreknowledge, there are Divine Appointments we can only wonder about: generations yet to come, peace to be made, gardens to tend, medicine to practice, music to play, disciples to teach, the Gospel to carry. Every pregnancy – every child – affects many more people than just a woman.
Even though God intends every child to be good news, some people, taken by surprise when they hear the news, require some convincing. When the slave girl, Hagar, became pregnant by Sarai’s husband, Abram, Sarai mistreated her (Gen. 16); with every baby Leah bore, her sister Rachel grew more jealous (Gen. 30); when Judah learned that Tamar was pregnant, his first impulse was to order her killed (Gen. 38); Peninnah’s pregnancies drove Hannah to a wasting despair (I Sam. 1); when Zechariah was told that Elizabeth was to give birth, he was rendered speechless (Luke 1); and when Joseph first learned of Mary’s pregnancy, God had to send an angel to talk him out of divorce (Matt. 1). Sometimes good news needs some getting used to.
But unwelcome surprise or not, perceived as good news or not, the beating heart of a preborn child overcomes all of our fearful attempts at denial. A new person has already taken his or her place in the circle of family, friends, neighbors and community – a place that fills a space many times her physical size. Once her tiny presence cannot be denied, she will change the lives of grown men and women many times her size, in an ever-widening circle – before ever saying a word. That beating heart is powerful witness enough. Every pulse is a word from the Lord.
"Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" Psalm 118:26