Today is the 4th Sunday in Advent and we light the candle of Love, or the Joseph candle. As we light this this and think about the Holy Family coming to the climax of their Bethlehem journey, you are invited to consider this week's theme, "Promise".
I ask your forbearance as I examine once again the intent of this devotion; the original concept sprang into being because I thought busy people with many holiday stress points could use a focused time and place to rest in God's promise as outlined in scripture. God spoke to our hopes through the prophets as the Messiah was promised. In Joseph and Mary's courage, the promise of the prince of peace came to Bethlehem. Hope and healing are at hand.
Relight the candles of Hope, Peace, and Joy. Then light the candle of Love as well, for we are on the threshold of promise.
We must ever expect the unexpected in our relationship with God, and God does not disappoint. My unexpected blessing is a right hand that doesn't work right now, and it forces me into the very rest I hesitated taking through this season, despite urging it upon others. I invite you to enter into prayer, and into scripture with the sure knowledge that resting in God as we wait for Emmanuel puts us in good company: with the prophets, with May, and with Joseph.
The world is re-imagined.
Matthew 1:18-25 (New International Version, ©2010)
Joseph Accepts Jesus as His Son18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
20 But after he had considered 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 home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
Our illustration today is a watercolor I painted with my non-dominant hand at the suggestion of a couple of artist friends. I feel it captured as much as I could write under the circumstances; maybe it comes more from the heart, who knows?Leaving the keyboard, I also leave it to you to reflect upon today's further readings as I put my brace back on and give my hand some time off. See you tomorrow, and enjoy the Sabbath!