Matthew 1:18-25 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit; and her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins."
Here we are at the 4th Sunday of Advent, and it finally looks like Christmas is coming, and yet there is still time, time to get ready. Although it may seem like there is no time left for we have made plans about all the things we want to do, and there just doesn’t look like there’ll be enough time. But this is a good time to tell you a story that it seems that most Pastors know, but perhaps few others. We begin by remembering what day we celebrate the birth of our Savior.
a. December 24 b. January 6 c. December 25 d. every day
While it is right to remember it every day, the day we celebrate is December 25th, that is the day which is Christmas. If you read the Christmas story in Luke, it is not hard to imagine that they arrived the day before – or at the time when there was no room in the inn. And somehow its hard to imagine that this would be the kind of thing you would want to celebrate – That the Christ comes, but no one has any room.
Is this an important question? I believe it is, and not just me, even the Christmas carols raise the question – consider "O Little Town of Bethlehem."
"Where meek souls will receive him still, the dear Christ enters in."
How do we find room for Jesus? Well, if your life is too busy, you begin by looking what you are busy doing? If your life is too full, what is all the stuff that clutters up the landscape of your life? That’s where you begin, you look to yourself and ask, why is there no room?
Then you can begin to hear the text. And it works on us like this – the women can wonder what it might have been like to be Mary – for what happened to her was not something you plan for, and was not part of the dream wedding of that time. She emptied herself of what she wanted and what she desired, and what she wanted to do – because what God had called her to do took precedence, that is, she knew what God wanted must be more important, so that came first. Our text looks at things from Joseph’s point of view, while he looked forward to marriage, this is not what he had imagined. It is not hard, to imagine him hurt or disappointed. What was he to do?
But Joseph also did not insist on his own way, but he listened to the angelic message, and he obeyed the Word which had come to him. How did he make room for this unplanned event? He emptied himself of what he wanted, of what he desired, of the things that occupied his time. And when he did – there was enough room, and enough time.
Is this important to us? Yes! You see, the whole idea of emptying yourself, is not just about Mary and Joseph – it is also the story of Jesus, who also emptied himself –Philippians 2:5-8
It may seem frightening to empty ourselves of our wishes and our will – and yet it would seem that the words spoken to Joseph – Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. So also the Words spoke to Mary – Luke 1:30=34
And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end."
So also we need have no fear, for the Savior is coming, bringing victory over all enemies and providing also for all our needs – also life, peace, and forgiveness of all our sins – is there room?