Sermon Synopsis Matthew 1:18-25

This is the passage where Joseph learns that his fiancé is pregnant and the child is not his own.

(Spoken with a tone of sarcasm) Don’t you just love those Christmas letters mailed out every year by your friends? The ones that describe how their Johnny was accepted into medical school and that Lisa was nominated for the Nobel Prize… The font is carefully chosen and there is a seasonal stamp stylishly placed in the corners. As you read about this perfect family your memory takes you back to the dinner party spent in their immaculate home decorated with designer furniture, with nothing out of place.

Then you glance around your own home and see the dishes stacked near the sink; laundry staged in piles and bills and newspapers covering the dining room table. You reflect upon your family’s imperfections as you suddenly realize that you have crumpled their letter in your tightening fist.

The reality is that there is no perfect family… there are only carefully staged images. In the past we knew this because we just showed up at the door with a loaf of fresh baked bread or a pie. We didn’t carry telephones in our pockets; they were tied to a wall or desk. We didn’t place the camera on our phone above our heads to make us appear thinner than we really are… We simply stopped in expecting to be welcomed into an imperfect home that looked much like our own.

Our society has evolved with technology that allows us to hide behind carefully chosen cover photos.
Perhaps we would all be better off is we had the confidence to… simply be ourselves.

Our passage of Scripture is a gift describing a very human family. It begins…

“Our son, Joseph was engaged to a lovely girl named Mary. He was brokenhearted when she told him that she was “with child.” The baby could not be his… so he decided to end the engagement. He is such a good hearted man and he cared deeply for the girl. So he made up his mind to do so as privately as possible so as not to cause her any more social stigma...”

The letter continues…

“Then he told us that he had dreamed that an angel told him that Mary had not been unfaithful… that she was pregnant with God’s child. They were married soon after the dream and now she is very, very pregnant. I don’t know what they will do when he has to travel to Bethlehem for the upcoming census. Keep them in your prayers.”

Why can’t we be… or seek to become… that transparent in the church; an imperfect people dependent upon God’s grace every day. Perhaps we might judge others less harshly and even learn to love ourselves as much as God loves each of us.

God choosing less than perfect circumstances as the instrument to bring his greatest gift to the world is the reason to celebrate the holiday!

Warmly,

Rev Dan