So many times we hear gossip about others, so many times we listen and make judgements on something based on words of another instead of fact. We often don't really understand just how much gossip impacts us until we too have been on the other end of the gossip chain. We often build people up often to only bring them down again. We set standards for others, but for us, we have a different set of standards. It's okay for us to share our opinion or our thoughts, but gosh, no one better say anything about me! Well guys, gossip didn't begin just yesterday. It has been around as long as time began. The woman I am speaking of today is Mary the mother of Jesus. First I will start with scripture. "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying,"Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins." Matthew 1:18-21 " Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of hte house of David. The virgin's name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her,'Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!' But when she saw him she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, 'Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. and behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus." Luke 1:26-31 "Then Mary said to the angel,'How can this be, since I do not know a man?" Luke 1:34 Throughout this story in Luke it goes on to tell us how Mary went to Elizabeth's home, and stayed with her for a time. Elizabeth was also with child, John who would come before Jesus. It is a beautiful story of how God blessed a women who He thought was worthy, and a man who was a just man. So here you have two people in whom God is using for His glory and purpose. Now, can you step back a moment. If that were me, I think I would have questioned the angel and said,"This is all great and all that God wants to use me, and bless me with a child but what is everyone going to say?" I would have thought oh, gosh, I have never even been with a man, now I am pregnant, with Jesus who is coming to change the world, I am engaged to Joseph and how am I going to share this with him? Can you imagine, here is young Mary and she has to try to explain this to her family, to Joseph and to her friends. What do you think they all did? Do you think they were all accepting? Do you think maybe some stepped back and thought,"Sure you haven't been with anyone, yep, and its baby Jesus, the Savior of the world no doubt?" Gossip spread across the land as it does today. Mary was blessed, she had a visit from an angel, which no doubt she was asking,'Why me?' Now, Joseph did know what was taking place after the angel came to him, but he also was going to divorce her quietly. He was in shock just as well. Here we have two people who loved God, and was being used of God, and what did those around them say? What did they chatter about? Were they speaking behind their backs and making judgements based on gossip, and their own thoughts, or did they too see the picture taking place, have understanding, and support them? Mary was blessed in that she had Elizabeth, she could talk with her and share with her about all that had taken place. Elizabeth was a wonderful friend to her. She supported her, she listened and she believed. Are we like that, are we like Elizabeth, or are we quick to judge what we do not know, or understand? We never know what is in a person's heart, what they are dealing with, what the cirumstances are unless we are walking in those shoes also, and we are there to see things face to face with that person. We are blessed to have friends who we can go to with anything, and share, they are going to be our Elizabeths, they are going to love and support us. We too are going to have those who stand against us, not knowing, but thinking they know, thinking they have the right to judge, and thinking they know the whole story. Don't worry yourselves with those who speak against you, or speak about you and your situation. Trust in God as Mary and Joseph learned to. Lean on Him and allow those who love you to lift you up. The next time gossip comes your way, step away from it, stop it there, and make a choice to not be a busybody and think upon your own set of circumstances. Mary and Joseph were not the only ones in whom gossip was about. Jesus too knows the pain of gossip, slander, and those who come against you. Chose today to grow in the Lord, and keep gossip at bay, not judging, nor sharing your opinion of another. Mary and Joseph made it through with dignity and praise to God, Jesus made it through with praise and honor to God, you too can make it through with that same praise and honor.