In this week’s Revised common lectionary readings we get the story of Papa Joe. Joseph is the much overlooked person in the birth story of Christ. I often find myself wondering just how he must have felt about the whole thing. Matthew tells us that he is visited by an angel who tells him not to set Mary aside, but rather to continue his plans to marry her even though she is expecting a child that is not his.
To me this can read like an odd super early version of the Maury Povich Show. “Joseph, you are NOT the father.” (an unholy analogy, but what comes to mind)
How would Joseph react in our modern day to such an occurrence? He would have been well within his rights to toss Mary aside and move on to greener pastures. But he doesn’t. Joseph remains faithful to Mary even when he’s not 100% sure she’s been faithful to him.
Perhaps that’s the way to look at this passage, as Joseph showing Mary and Jesus the kind of love that God shows all of us. Even when we are not faithful, even when we are ashamed, even when the world condemns us, God will not abandon us. God comes alongside us and offeres to provide for us. God leans in close and says “I will be with you, always.”
What things are you pondering on this fourth Sunday of Advent?
How might you work the theme of love into your sermon?
Perhaps you will use one of the other texts, found here.
Prayers for you my fellow preachers, may you feel God walk alongside of you as you prepare to preach the word.
The Reverend Cardelia Howell-Diamond is the overwhelmed mother of three and solo pastor of a Cumberland Presbyterian Church in North Alabama. This Advent season she has been preaching on the theme of “The End of the World as We Know It” and feels that more and more everyday!
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