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Christians are used to hearing about Joseph and Mary, usually around Christmas. Then, they’re the supporting cast, and Jesus is the focus. They certainly don’t often come up in conversations about Christian marriage. Perhaps they should. If we pay attention, Joseph and Mary point us toward what makes a good marriage.

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Most evangelicals are accustomed to the Mary of icons with an emotionless face, the Mary of statues draped in a powder blue robe, and the Mary of piety who quietly and submissively obeys orders. And, if you are like me, you have been nurtured in a faith that, intentionally or not, ignores Mary.

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Despite the positive reviews I had heard of The Nativity Story, I went to the movie prepared to be a critic. After all, I thought, it was my duty to see through the cinematic gimmicks and factual errors to produce a film review. Though I came to the film a bit cynically, I left feeling uplifted and moved.

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Simeon’s statement to Mary at Jesus’ circumcision, “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel” (Luke 2:34), is a lens through which we can view Jesus’ encounters with people. Jesus humbled the proud, the rich, and the powerful. 

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An overemphasis on the nuclear family lacks biblical perspective. While marriage is sacred and parenting highly revered in Scripture, the family that the Bible deals with most often is God’s family—God’s New Covenant community.

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CBE is dedicated to helping others locate their true identity and potential for ministry in Scripture’s teaching that in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female (Gal. 3:28).

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We know that when we say “yes” to God’s call to ministry and when we persist in that ministry despite opposition and hardship, we’ll likely be hurt. We’ll be grieved by those we love and long to serve.

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Christianity began when an angel showed up at a young, unwed girl’s house, announcing that she’d been honored with the privilege of carrying a baby boy—a boy who would become the hope of the nations. God chose a young, unwed mother to be mother of the One who would usher in an upside down kingdom, a kingdom where God esteems people quite differently than humanity ever has before.

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This year, I have noticed Mary more than usual. One of the things I’ve seen is a very strong person who bucks her culture to be what God calls her to be. That resistance has a hidden cost that the Bible doesn’t record directly. 

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For most of my life, I didn’t understand the significance of Advent. It paled next to Christmas. And I felt the same indifference for Advent that I had for every other church season.

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