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18 December 2016


FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT – Sunday 18 December

[Matthew 1: 18-25]

Ready for Love

Over recent years there has been a growing interest in people tracing their family trees. Websites offer us help in exploring our genealogy; television programmes like ‘Who do You Think You Are?’ show some of the surprises and revelations of family histories. Imagine if the programme decided to explore Jesus Christ’s life! ‘Who Do We Think He Is?’ This is what Matthew does at the beginning of his Gospel as he explores Jesus’s genealogy from both sides of the family tree. In the first verses of the chapter he sets out the earthly ancestral line of David, from which Christ is descended, and in today’s reading we see revelation of the divine side of his origins.

Through the Holy Spirit and the humble obedience of both Mary and Joseph, the culmination of the waiting and longing for the promised Messiah is about to burst on the world. My favourite carol is ‘Hark the Herald Angels Sing’, telling the story of Emmanuel, God with us. “Offspring of a virgin’s womb; veiled in flesh the godhead see, hail the incarnate deity; pleased as man, with man to dwell, Jesus our Emmanuel”. The angels’ outburst of astonished joy at Christ’s birth gives a hint of the delight in heaven about this sign of God’s love for humankind. May we on earth experience the same amazed enchantment as we accept God’s wonderful gift to us which came at the First Christmas.


For further reflection, please read Tom Wright – Advent for Everyone, A Journey Through Matthew, pages 91-95