Wesley Word-Dec. 15, 2021

Sonia Baker   -  

To go along with service on: Sunday, December 19, 2021 

Experiencing Grace

Exploring Truth
Signs of the Season: The Sign of Joseph
Micah 5:2-5a & Matthew 1:18-25

We continue our Advent series, Signs of the Season, with the Sign of Joseph. Joseph was engaged to be married to Mary before the angel Gabriel announced to her that she would be the mother of Jesus. A marriage engagement in that culture would have been much more legally binding than it is in our modern culture. Legally, they were considered to be married, but they were not yet living together. In the ancient world, people actually got married (some time) before they lived together, a novel concept today, unfortunately. 

When Joseph found out Mary was pregnant, he knew the baby was not his and we can understand why he may have doubted Mary’s story. However, Joseph was a righteous and honorable man who did not want to humiliate Mary, so he decided to simply divorce her (break off the engagement) quietly. That was, before he got his own visit from the Angel Gabriel, who told him the baby was, in fact, conceived by the Holy Spirit and he should go ahead and marry Mary and become the “stepfather” to the Messiah.

We often underestimate the kind of responsibility and risk Joseph was taking on. We will see Joseph becomes instrumental as a protector and provider for Mary and the Infant Jesus. I think the central message of Joseph’s life for us, the sign of Joseph, if you will, is that while the Father could have sent Jesus into the world simply by “parachute dropping” him in as a full-grown adult. He chose, however, to send Jesus as a baby, born of the Virgin Mary. Even then the Father could have chosen to have Mary raise Jesus as a single mother. Instead, God chose a family for Jesus. God chose ordinary but faithful and obedient people through whom to work his miracle of Incarnation. 

As we saw last week, Mary gets the headline for being a direct participant in the miracle, but let us not forget Joseph and his essential supporting work. 

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. What supporting work does God want you to do?

Expressing Love: Family/Mission Activity

What do you love?-Give each family member a bag or pillowcase and ask them to put something that is very important to them in it. When everyone has collected something, have family members try to guess what is in the bag/pillowcase (clues can be given, if needed). Then ask how we tend to treat these important things in our lives (ex: keep it in a special place, use it with care, etc.). How might you treat a piece of trash (not with care, don’t care what happens to it, etc.)? 

The more we love an object, the more devoted we are to it. God is the same way. The more we love him, the more we’ll think about him, respect him, and try to do as he asks. Joseph had to do as God asked him to do when Mary told him she was pregnant. He could have chosen to walk away from Mary, but he instead chose to stay by her side, just as God asked. We need to treat God, and his directions, in the same way, but we have to spend a lot of time in his word, at church, and listening to know what he’s asking us to do and how he wants us to live.  

Announcements:

  • There will be No WOW(Worship on Wednesdays) Tonight, Dec. 15. 
    • WOW will resume Wednesday, Jan. 5
  • Advent Devotionals-Free Advent devotional books are available in the back of the Sanctuary and on the table in the chapel entryway. If you need a second copy, there are plenty remaining if you’d like!
  • Christmas Eve Services:
    • 6:00 pm Contemporary Candlelight Communion Service
    • 9:30 pm Organ Recital by Sally Potter
    • 10:00 pm Traditional Candlelight Communion Service
  • Sunday, December 26 – One Service at 10:00am.  No Sunday School Classes.