Matthew 1:18-25 (God is with us)
Our text today talks about Jesus' birth from a totally different angle than the Christmas text we hear from the Gospel of Luke. In Matthew's text, we hang out with Jesus' adoptive dad Joseph. We hear about how Joseph felt when he learned that his finance was pregnant as well as his plans to divorce her quietly. Then the angel of the Lord comes to Joseph and tells him about the baby that Mary is carrying, who is God's son. The angel goes on to say "...and they will call him Immanual-which means, 'God with us.' "
Believe it or not the Greek, the language of the new Testament, is not as helpful to us here as it might seem. For you see the prophesy, written in Hebrew, that takes place in Isaiah 7 talks about a baby coming who will be named Immanuel which means "God is with us". The "is" is very important to the audience of the Gospel of Matthew. During the time of Matthew's Gospel, the temple in Jerusalem has been destroyed (God's earthly home); thousands of people have been killed; and several hundred had been crucified by the Romans. Times were not good for our Jewish brothers and sisters.
Jesus' birth reminded them that even though God's earthly home had be destroyed, God had not abandoned them. In fact, God had come down with skin on to let people know how much God cares about us, and how much God honors God promise to walk with us.
So how about you today? Is there something going on in your life, where you feel the absence of God? Do you feel abandoned? Hopeless? Christmas and Advent remind us that the promise of God is still valid today. God has promised to walk beside you; to support you; and care for you. This is the reason we get so excited for Christmas, because it reminds us that we can lean on God in the good times and the bad times. Isn't that the best news you have year all year?
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Pastor Paul. I hope you find these reflections insightful and help you in your faith journey!