St. James Episcopal Church
In many of our churches this last Sunday of Advent we will hear Joseph's part in the story of the birth of the Messiah. We often think of Mary, of her complete willingness to say yes to this rather amazing event in her life. Joseph sometimes seems a little more off in the background, a little less center stage in this whole incredible drama of the Incarnation, and yet, he too had his role. He too did his part. While we might think him a noble fellow to stand by Mary, whom we are told was his betrothed now found to be with child, we may not quite grasp the magnitude of that act in his time and culture. To be pregnant out of wedlock was a stoning offense, and most fiancs, no matter how dedicated, generally wouldn't want to put themselves in the way of those stones. Many in fact did not, and would loudly denounce their would-be brides. But Joseph, we are told, originally had a different plan for Mary when he heard the news "being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, [he] planned to dismiss her quietly." But then he hears from God via an angel in a dream. And Joseph listens, opens his heart, and he too says yes to something that will change his life forever.
In many of our lives this last week of Advent, there is a lot going on. We might be thinking about the presents to wrap, dinners to plan, or cards to send. Or maybe we are preoccupied with the bills to be paid, the job that just won't come or a sense of sadness that just won't end.
Our life, no matter how it is for us, right now, Emmanuel, the God who is with us, comes into the midst of it. God comes and asks, "Will you too be part of the story?" Now while we may personally never have direct visits from angels, or hear the prophets quoted in our dreams, God comes in many ways every day. Like Mary and Joseph, may we too open our hearts and our lives and say yes to God with us at Christmas and always.