Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Jospeh, 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, and you are to name him Jesus, 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 call him Emmanuel, which means, 'God is with us.'" When Jospeh 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.
The fourth Sunday in Advent is a day on which we celebrate Love. The scripture reading for today gets us right to Christmas, to the nativity, with just a few quick, short, words about Mary bearing her son and Joseph naming him Jesus.
Instead of writing my own devotion this week, I want to share the love and amplify the words of a Christian author I admire. This article has been making the rounds on the internet (for good reason) so you may have seen it already, but just in case you haven't, you are in for a real treat.
Sarah Bessey talks about how everything we know about the nativity is probably wrong - and how it was filled with so much more love, joy, hope, and peace than we might expect. You can read her article here.
God of peace, hope, joy, and love, may we all feel more of all these things this Christmas. May we do our best to share these things with the people and the wider world around us. May Christ be born again in our hearts this year, Amen.