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Showing posts from December, 2022

Silent Night

In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of grea

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

Change… in some ways, none of us like it. But in other ways, we do enjoy change. Change for the better is always good. And change that is part of a rhythm is especially welcomed by human body and soul. That’s what we have in the celebration of the church year—change in rhythm. We change from one season to the next, Advent to Christmas to Lent to Easter, but we also revisit the same seasons every year.     Our Gospel reading for today from Matthew 1:18-25 is all about change, change for the better. Listen for God’s word to you…   Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah [ a ]   took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.   Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly.   But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afrai

Joy to the World

What do you do when you have spiritual doubts? Where do you go for answers?     In our lectionary reading for today from Matthew 11:2-11, we see no one less than John the Baptist having doubts about the very person he spent his life preaching about and preparing others to receive.   I believe this passage gives us guidance about what to do when we doubt. Listen for God’s word to you…   When John heard in prison what the Messiah was doing, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?” Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.”   As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see?

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

I begin this morning by inviting you to transfer your mind back two thousand years. We are in the hot, dusty desert of Palestine and the way is being prepared for a great preacher, one whom many believe is the Messiah, the King.   How should the people get ready for the Messiah? There isn’t even a road. But here comes a forerunner, shouting to the people in the desert: the king is coming! Make a road for him! Make it good and straight!   This is the message that had echoed among the Jewish people for hundreds of years, from the time that Isaiah 40 was written, until the coming of John the Baptist. This was part of the great message of hope, of forgiveness, of healing for the nation after the horror of exile. The Messiah would come bringing comfort and rescue. That’s what John says is happening now. It’s time to get ready. The king, who is God in person, is coming. Get ready for God’s kingdom! The problem is the people are not ready, just as many of us are not ready today.   How would y