The good news for the day, December 18

Fourth Sunday of Advent (10)

This is how Jesus was born: When his mother Mary was engaged to Joseph–before they lived together–she was found to be pregnant by the mystery of God’s creation. Her fiancé, Joseph, an upright man, felt unwilling to shame her; he decided to separate from her quietly. That was what he wanted to do—when, suddenly, the “messenger of the Lord” appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary into your home as your wife. For it is through the mystery of God’s creating that this child has been conceived in her. She will give birth to a son and you are to name him “Jesus” (“deliverer”), because he will deliver his people from how they gone astray.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means “God is with us.” When Joseph awoke from dreaming, he did as the messenger of the Lord had commanded him and took his spouse Mary into his home (Matthew .1)

The importance of this story is that Jesus, the man born of Mary, is a special Child of God: his true and only Father is the Creator, the one who, in Genesis, has His “spirit” hovering like a mother bird warming her nestlings and creating life—and order. Jesus later on will tell people (in Matthew 23), “Call no man on earth your father.” He wants you not to reject your father, but to use him as a model for the “perfect Fatherhood” of the Creator.

In other words—he is saying–you too are a “special child of God,” with a “true and only real Father” in heaven. You and I have had a father—someone who helped make us mature; we appreciate his love, example, and responsibility—his goodness. That human father is powerless, though, to make you a “reborn” child of God. He works at it—but the creative power of God—the “holy spirit”—changes you and your workaday self into that “new creation,” freeing—delivering–you from this culture and bad habits—“saved” now in joining His family—alongside your fathe


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