Candle Lighter: “The Light of the world is here!” (As you light the Christ Candle.)
Reader: “Glory to God in the highest,”
Response: “And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
Scripture: Matthew 1:18-25
This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. Joseph, to whom she was engaged, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.
As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet:
“Look! The virgin will conceive a child!
She will give birth to a son,
and they will call him Immanuel,
which means ‘God is with us.’”
When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus.
Reader: “The word of the Lord.”
Response: “Thanks be to God.”
While Luke wrote what was going on in Mary’s life in regard to the visit of the angel, Matthew gives us insight into what was going on in Joseph’s mind. Don’t you wonder how Mary broke the news to Joseph? Imagine his shock! He obviously did not believe her story. I doubt anyone would. As a man who followed the law, he could not marry an adulteress. He had a couple of options. He could expose her to a public trial and have her put to death, or he could pay a fine and divorce her quietly. He decided on the latter. As he was thinking things through, an angel appeared to him in a dream and confirmed Mary was telling him the truth. What must have gone through his head when he woke up. After the dream, he resolved things in his mind and took Mary as his wife, but did not consummate their marriage until after Jesus was born. Joseph was a remarkable man. In fact the Scriptures say he was a good man. He strikes me as a quiet unassuming carpenter who stayed out of the limelight. He and Mary did go on to have four more sons and several daughters. He apparently died before Jesus began his public ministry as we hear nothing about him after Jesus was twelve. I think it would be fascinating to talk with Joseph. What was it like to raise a little boy who was God? Did you teach him to walk? How did he relate to his siblings? It is also touching that it was Joseph who named him Jesus, showing that he accepted Mary’s baby as his own. In fact elsewhere the Scriptures state that people just assumed Jesus was Joseph’s son. If we just stop and think about this whole story, who would ever have come up with this tale? God, the Creator of the universe, lovingly sends his Son to earth who is conceived as a human being. The Son would be completely human in every way, hence born of a woman, and, at the same time, retain his divinity because he would be conceived by the Holy Spirit. Only the Creator of all could bring this about. This whole story reads like fantasy except that it is tied to human history and is true and people’s lives are changed by this Jesus.
Music: “O Holy Night” Home Free
Bonus: “O Holy Night” Il Divo You will listen to this one multiple times. Voices from heaven!!!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5j_XuATgRU DON’T MISS IT!! One of the best of the whole Advent Season!
Almighty God, who hast given us thy only-begotten Son to take our nature upon him and as at this time to be born of a pure virgin: grant that we, being regenerated and made thy children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by thy Holy Spirit; through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen. ―BCP