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Senior Minister Ricky A. Woods
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Sunday, December 20, 2020 5:56 PM

Altered Plans - Dec. 14, 2020

Sunday, December 20, 2020 5:56 PM
Sunday, December 20, 2020 5:56 PM

Matthew 1:18-25

The birth narrative of Jesus is only recorded in the gospels of Matthew and Luke. Each place its focus on the birth of Jesus differently. Luke tells the story from Mary’s view. It is Matthew that tells us the story from the eyes of Joseph.

Each has plans that have been altered by the presence of an angel. An angel appeared unto Joseph and repeated the words that the angel had said a lot during this season of the year… do not be afraid. The presence of an angel was often thought to be a sign of pending judgment but it is not judgment that God has in mind.

It is good news.

It is news of how God is reaching out to humanity in the gift of a child who was also the savior of the world. It is news of God choosing to enter into divine and human partnership to redeem creation.

Just as Mary has a role to play, Joseph has a role to play. Mary will give the child birth but Joseph must give him his name. The naming of a child in Jewish culture was a religious ritual that included the community. When the father gave the child his/her name, it was the act of the father that gave the child standing in the community and told the community this child belongs to us. Joseph had the responsibility to give Jesus his name, to tell the community and the world who he was.

Although Joseph had other plans, when he woke from his dream he did what the angel told him. Joseph took Mary as his wife and he named her first born son Jesus. Joseph accepted the responsibility thrusted upon him and by his example invites us to look to ways we may accept the responsibility that God places upon us. For in doing so we make the Christmas story come alive not because of gifts but because of deeds that are life altering that can only happen when you are not afraid.

Fear not do not be afraid for God may be reaching out to you to make a fresh witness of grace possible in our world.


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