Sunday, December 22, 2013

4th Sunday in Advent - Matthew 1:18-25 - "Emmanuel"

They shall name him Emmanuel - “God is with us”

The retelling of the birth of Jesus from the perspective of Joseph is important to the salvation story.  In fulfilling the prophecies of a savior being born of a virgin and being in the line of David – it is through Joseph that this is made to be.  Joseph is of the line of David.  His taking Mary into his home establishes her as his wife; taking responsibility for the child she bears.  Naming the child establishes Joseph’s responsibility for the child and places the child in his family line – the line of David.

It is important not only to fulfill what God has promised through the prophets, but in establishing that Jesus was of human estate.  It is the fulfillment of God’s love for his children that “he sent his only son to be among us.”

It is the establishment of the humanness of Jesus.  He came into the world as we do – helpless in infancy - to experience life as we experience life - in all but sin.  And to die, so we might have life eternal.

God is not some distant deity – removed from us: our lives, our sorrows, our joys, our pains, our hopes and dreams – God is with us – then and there – here and now.  This is not a myth, but the Truth - the very foundation of our faith.  God did come into the world to be among us, to suffer, die and rise again, - so we might have life, and have it abundantly.

God is with us!  Always and everywhere: - at every moment in our lives.  God is with us at the best times of our lives.  God is with us in our darkest moments: - from the moment we are conceived to the moment we return to Him in heaven.  And God is with us at every in-between moment too.

God shares our joy - dancing and laughing with us in our delight.  He rejoices in our happiness, - lifting us up.  Our joy is God’s joy; He delights in the happiness of His children.  In our happy times God is with us, but are we with God?

Do we remember to be with God in our joy?  Do we share our best times with our creator?  Remember to pray - thanking God for all the good he does for us in our lives. 

In our darkest moments, when we fear and lose hope, God is with us.  When we are sad with grief and cannot bear the load - He comforts and carries us. He listens to our prayers, shares our sorrows and weeps with us.  In our despair God is with us, but again, are we with God?

Do we turn to God in our worst times?  Not in anger, but to share our fears and worries; allowing God to shoulder our burdens?  Pray to God always.  In the dark of our night, give our sorrows and fears over to the Lord – let him fill us with light and hope - as he embraces us with his love and lifts us up as a mother does a weeping child – to comfort and console.

God is our beloved Father and we his children, whom he loves always – without condition.  He forgives us our sins - shares our joys and bears our burdens - asking only that we love - as he loves us. 

  • On this last Sunday of Advent, let us remember why the Birth of our Lord is such an important event in the Church’s calendar. 
  • Let us Keep Christ in Christmas by giving thanks and praise to God, - who is love -- for loving us so much that he came into the world to be among us, so we might be saved from the powers of Satan and the allures of this world. 
  • God is with us – now and forever, - so we might have life eternal and dwell in peace in his Kingdom – forever and ever ~ Amen.

Deacon Don Ron

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