Advent 2020 Reflection – Day Twenty
Day 20 – Matthew 1 23 – 25
23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
I must admit that my heart rather sank when I read the passage for today as it starts with yesterday’s passage. My first instinct was to change the reading but as it was what was before me, I read it once again.
The words that stood out of these verses, as I read them again, were “took Mary home”.
Home is a word with so many meanings and can refer to so many places. Being the son of a minister I was pretty rootless as a child and it was not really until Ros and I had married and then moved to St Albans that I had a permanent place to call home. Yet it is true that wherever Dad and Mum were that was and still is home. Hatfield Road church is also my home and not just because of the amount of time I spend in the building. Also although it is not a physical place, I also am confident that I have a home with my Saviour which I hold in the very heart of my being each and every day. In each and every one of these places I feel that I belong and am safe and secure, held in the loving embrace of those I share those homes with.
In the last few weeks it has been my sad priviledge to attend a number of funerals. I think I spoke of one in a previous reflection. The one that was most full of joy, amidst the deep sadness, was the one where the family were confident that their loved one had been called home to Jesus’ side. So as well as our earthly homes we have a heavenly home to look forward to. We know this because Jesus told us this was so and his coming was to show us the path we have to follow to travel alongside him to that final home. This time of Advent gives us time to open ourselves and our “homes” to the presence of Jesus. Welcoming him in to every aspect of our lives.
In our silence today we think of those places we call home. Thanking God that he shares those homes with us.
I must confess today’s carol was chosen to go with the part of the reading I have not used but I think it fits despite that as it evokes the joy of the world even in the temporary home Joseph, Mary and Jesus have in a cattle shed and a manger bed.
Loving God, we thank you that you have made your home with us in the power of the Holy Spirit. We praise you for the coming of your Son into the world and especially for his coming into each of our lives. It is a mystery how you dwell within us but we are certain that you do. Help us to live our lives aware of your call on us to worship, discipleship and evangelism. Assist us to speak confidently of your place in our hearts and let our words and actions be ourpourings of your love into the world around us.
We thank you for our homes and those we share them with. May they be places which are filled with your love. We praise you for the assurance you have given us, that those who have gone from our homes, have joined you in your eternal home and that we will one day travel to that home.
Lord we also pray for those who have no home or a home where they do not feel safe. Remembering especially those who are displaced from their homes and living as refugees and those who are homeless. We pray for those whose homes are lonely places. We particularly lift those who have had hopes of sharing fellowship with others in just a few days time stripped away from them by the pandemic and tightening restrictions. We pray for those who have gone before us into your loving home and for ourselves as we are reminded of the gaps left in our homes by their passing. Lord, no matter our confidence of their place with you we are also aching that they are no longer with us so ease our grieving and sad hearts,
Finally Lord, we pray, that at this Advent time we like the angels will sing your praises and our hearts ring like bells announcing your coming into the world. Amen.
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