The Fourth Sunday of Advent rejoices in the theme of Love. And this year, the lectionary has us in Matthew’s Gospel, and the birth of Jesus from Joseph’s point-of-view. Whatever we make of the virgin birth, make no mistake: Joseph is the man chosen by God to be the father of His only begotten Son: adoptive fathers are fathers 100%. Like Mary (in Luke’s account), Joseph is visited by an angel, who addresses him as the Son of David, a name by which Jesus will be called nine times in Matthew’s Gospel, by those who recognize him for who he is (Jesus refers to himself as Son of Man, thirty times; while those who oppose him—Satan, demons, chief priests, mockers—and, once, his disciples, call him Son of God five times). Joseph, alone, shares in this special title, Son of David, beloved by God.
For Joseph and Mary, as in every good love story, the course of love does not run smoothly. There are obstacles to be overcome, misunderstandings to be worked through, good counsel needed. But this quiet man, who never says a word, loves Mary and her son, and will go to the ends of the earth—to Egypt—to protect them, whatever the cost. Love knows no bounds.
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