Matthew 1:18-23 – With
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.”
I have been stuck on the personal-ness of the Gospel stories this year for Advent. I keep getting zeroed in on the “you”s in the Luke passages – “To you is born this day…” and here “they shall name him Emmanuel, which means ‘God is with us’”. There is a universality of the story that we celebrate in this season, but there is even more so a personal-ness. God is here and comes to shepherds in the field, to a carpenter in Nazareth, to a young girl, to a priest in the temple, to his wife who has struggled mightily with infertility, to visitors from the East….to you and to me…to the world.
Voskamp’s activity today was to find two twigs, tie them together with red ribbon, and then display that creation. Is the red a sign of the red from the Rahab story – the rope that was the lifeline? The lifeline is what ties the cross together? Regardless, I wanted my children to be a part of this today, so the cross in this picture was made by them today. They found the twigs and tied it together. I wanted them to have the personal experience of this today because God came to them as well.
Tomorrow is Christmas Eve – the celebration is nearly here. God with us. Emmanuel.