Sermon Preparation -
December 20

Matthew 1:18-25

This is how Jesus Christ was born. A young woman named Mary was engaged to Joseph from King David's family. But before they were married, she learned that she was going to have a baby by God's Holy Spirit. Joseph was a kind man and did not want to embarrass Mary in front of everyone. So he decided to quietly call off the wedding.

While Joseph was thinking about this, an angel from the Lord came to him in a dream. The angel said, "Joseph, the baby that Mary will have is from the Holy Spirit. Go ahead and marry her. Then after her baby is born, name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."

So the Lord's promise came true, just as the prophet had said, " A virgin will have a baby boy, and he will be called Immanuel," which means "God is with us."

After Joseph woke up, he and Mary were soon married, just as the Lord's angel had told him to do. But they did not sleep together before her baby was born. Then Joseph named him Jesus. [CEV]


1. How was Jesus born? An embarrassing situation was not rejected because it was embarrassing. Rather, the situation was embraced and accepted. God's messengers bring this dream - The Holy Spirit is involved with every aspect of life, even the embarrassing. In fact, this is the source of salvation. Jesus, God's salvation, goes on to run counter to the religious wisdom of his day - Sabbath laws are broken right and left. It come around that the prevailing religious wisdom is embarrassed by what was considered embarrassing. How sweet an irony. How encouraging.

2. We sometimes get caught up with "virgin" talk. The original reference from Isaiah used the young woman bearing a child as a sign. We have here a sign which is different from an historical necessity. The focus is not on the "virgin", the carrier of sign, but on the fantastic reality of "God with us".
     How else is God with us today? How does this reality come to you? How do you share it with others?

3. Listen to your dreams. Write them down as soon as you can. The best of your dreams will incorporate something or someone rejected into the web of life. May we begin to live our dreams.

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