The Gospels of Luke and Matthew tell the story of Jesus’ coming into the world from very different perspectives, so divergent that at times they seem almost to be two different stories that have characters with the same names. Luke focusses on Jesus’ mother Mary and her extended family. Joseph her husband is there in the background for much of the time. In Luke’s story, there is considerable preparation for the birth, with angels appearing well in advance to inform various characters of what will be happening. There is still danger and difficulty, but at least they know what’s going on and why.
By contrast, Matthew focusses on Joseph, though still without giving him a speaking part. There is no preparation in Matthew’s account. We are introduced to Mary and Joseph as a betrothed couple for whom life has suddenly become complicated. Mary somehow has a child in her womb. Perhaps she has some sense that it’s God’s doing, but Joseph doesn’t yet know that. Joseph must assume that the child is another man’s doing, and so he has a problem.
Sermon for the Fourth Sunday of AdventRead More »