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Christmas Eve, Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Today’s Reading | 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,”
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. (NRSV)
Do we ever tire of hearing the awesome story of Jesus’ birth? Angels appear in wonder and mystery, in person or through a dream, proclaiming to Mary and Joseph that they would bear a son. Mary responded, “Let it be with me according to your word.” Joseph awoke from sleep and did as the angel had commanded him, taking Mary as his wife. Both were servants of God, trusting how the Holy Spirit was breaking into their lives and changing them—and us—forever. In ways we cannot explain or fully grasp, God uses them to become “down to earth,” the Word made flesh.
Christmas is a celebration of the marvel that God chose to live as one of us, among us, and for us. The child is named Emmanuel, meaning God-with-us. God reconciles us to one another, to our true selves, and to God. The child is called Jesus because he would save people from their sins. There is nothing that can separate us from God’s love, including our own unworthiness.
Meister Eckhart wrote, “We are all called to be mothers of God.” God calls you to give birth to Love in this world. You are called to embody and nurture God’s peace. On this holiest of nights, be amazed. Be attentive. Be open to how the Spirit may whisper your calling amidst candles and carols in a crowded sanctuary or as you contemplate the night alone.
Glorious God, with the angelic host I proclaim, “Christ is born in Bethlehem!” May Christ be born through me as well. Amen.
Written by Victoria G. Curtiss, Associate Pastor for Mission
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