Fourth Sunday of Advent
The Birth of the Messiah
Matthew’s telling of the birth of Jesus is very simple, brief, to the point. Read it through several times, in order to hear precisely what Matthew does say—and what he doesn’t! This is not Luke’s story!
This story centers around Joseph! Joseph chooses to hear and heed God. In spite of the probable humiliation and shame of Mary’s out-of-wedlock pregnancy, in spite of his legal right to divorce her, Joseph chooses the vulnerable path of love. Joseph chooses this life—the one in which God is with him, no matter what!
Advent Conspiracy Week 4 theme is “Love Fully,” and we have before us the story that tells what loving fully looks like. We see God choosing to live among us, as one of us, in spite of the humiliation—even because of the humiliation! God chooses vulnerable love so that we may learn, and Matthew gives us Joseph as an example. This is not an easy path—there are not always happy endings; not everyone will welcome our path of choosing love. We, however, are led by a God whose name is Emmanuel. We speak the promise and the hope, the peace and the love, each time we speak that name: God with us. God is with us.
Our Advent Conspiracy is almost at a close. May the invitations of the Conspiracy linger with you through the coming year: Worship Fully; Spend Less; Give More; Love Fully. May the spiritual prac-tices of breathing, sitting in silence, and offering simple words guide you as you live God’s hope, peace, joy, and love.
Here is an Advent Spiritual Practice: as you sit quietly with God each day this holy week, give thanks, not so much with a list or with many words. Rather, breathe gratitude into your heart, and then breathe that gratitude into your life.
“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife.”
Maggie Wellert, retired pastor, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
The Moravian Church