As Christmas approaches and Advent comes to a close, we finally hear a story from the Gospel that is directly connected with the birth of Jesus. This year we hear the story of Matthew’s experience of the miraculous events surrounding Jesus conception and his birth.
While I was certainly familiar with the story, this year, as I studied and prayed, I noticed something I hadn’t previously though. In a way that is different than the Annunciation to Mary, the Angel that appears to Joseph isn’t inviting Joseph to take his part in the story. Joseph is commanded. He is told that he SHALL name the child Jesus. The name is full of meaning, but the fact that Joseph names the child means that Joseph is formally adopting the child as his own and bringing Jesus into the lineage of King David. It’s a moment when we see God at work in human history in a way that we rarely witness.
There’s much to ponder as we consider the details of story of Jesus’ birth. I speak a bit about the implications of the Jesus’ parentage and how he was conceived. I speak about the details are different than any other story of divine presence in the birth of a human in both the Bible and in the myths and stories of that age. And I invite you to think a bit about what this means about our new nature as we have died to the old self in baptism and risen to a new life that is found in Jesus.
Before you write me… As I was editing the video I discovered that something went wrong with the audio for the first minute of the recording. I’m sorry but I just didn’t have time to go back and re-record. You don’t miss much. I was talking about the weather (it’s rainy) and read the opening of this week’s Gospel lesson (linked here). Hopefully I can figure out what went wrong before I record my Christmas Sermon this week.
In any event, as Advent comes to an end and Christmas approaches, may you all find the Light of God in your lives and may God grant you a very Merry Christmas indeed.
The direct link to the video is found here.