The Fourth Sunday of Advent

December 18
Stephanie Wilkening

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.” Matthew 1:20-21

Jesus is on the way! How exciting!

But not for Joseph. He learns Mary, his betrothed, is pregnant. He knows the baby is not his, and is certainly feeling betrayal, confusion, and heartache. Just before the angel visits, Joseph has decided to quietly divorce Mary, so as not to bring shame upon her. Joseph truly cares for Mary and his decision is fueled by his love and compassion. Historians tell us that if he had chosen a more public shaming, Mary may have been put to death for adultery.

I shiver to think about it.

Thankfully, the angel comes to put Joseph’s mind at ease. Joseph takes Mary as his wife. Simply put, Mary gives birth to Jesus and Jesus saves us from our sins. Just as the angel said.

Every day I thank God for his love and the love of his only son, Jesus Christ. What a gift he has given to all of us: a love like no other.

As I move about in the world and in my life, I try to live compassionately and love others as God has shown me through Jesus. I feel truly blessed by God in my life, but I see so many who are hungry, poor, and homeless, discriminated against for their color or who they love or where they come from, or who are victims of injustice. It’s heartbreaking.

I believe we are all called to do more to help others, to show compassion, and to show everyone God’s love.

Dear Lord, I pray in thanksgiving for the birth of your son, Jesus Christ, who died to save us from our sins. Your love is the greatest gift of all. I thank you for giving your love to us and pray that we can give it to others through our words and deeds. Amen.

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