Advent Week 4 Preparation: Matthew 1:18-25

Good afternoon Everyone!

I hope your week is going well. I am on the mend and I hope the rest of you are staying healthy, out of tornadoes, and dry.

Can you believe this is week four of advent? It seems like the season is flying by.

I hope that you are finding ways to create space for God over this advent season and to practice "seeing beyond what we see." If you’re interested in reading a short reflection about our advent theme (that John T. read from on Sunday morning) you can click here.

This coming Sunday we are looking at another text in the Gospel of Matthew; this time it is much closer to the actual birth of Jesus. This week we are looking at Joseph, Jesus’ "step-dad" and a little of his role in the birth narrative.

Here is Matthew 1:18-25 —

“Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah 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 afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:

“Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,

and they shall name him Emmanuel (cf. Isaiah 7:14),”

which means, “God is with us.” When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.

Queries:

  • What do you think is significant about Joseph’s role in Jesus’ birth narrative? What is unique about Joseph in this passage? What does he bring to the table as a faithful person? How do you think he understood his role as "step-dad?"
  • Think of a time when you encountered God pretty clearly, what was it like? When did it happen? How did you respond? What was the mode of "revelation?"
  • Can you think of times when "God is with us" has been used both properly and improperly? How do you think Joseph understood this?
  • Does anything else surprise you about this passage?

I pray for light and peace on you and your families this week,

Wess