By Dr. Michael Layne
---- — GOSPEL: Matthew 1:18-25 18This is how Jesus Christ was born. A young woman named Mary was engaged to Joseph from King David’s family. But before they were married, she learned that she was going to have a baby by God’s Holy Spirit. 19Joseph was a good man and did not want to embarrass Mary in front of everyone. So he decided to quietly call off the wedding.
“While Joseph was thinking about this, an angel from the Lord came to him in a dream. The angel said, ‘Joseph, the baby that Mary will have is from the Holy Spirit. Go ahead and marry her. 21Then after her baby is born, name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.’
“So the LORD’S promise came true, just as the prophet had said, 23’A virgin will have a baby boy, and he will be called Immanuel,’ which means ‘God is with us.’”
“After Joseph woke up, he and Mary were soon married, just as the LORD’S angel had told him to do. 25But they did not sleep together before her baby was born. Then Joseph named him Jesus.”
The above scripture will be shared in many churches this Sunday as we wrap up the season of Advent. If your church does not follow the lectionary, which is a weekly reading of scripture from the Old Testament, a Psalm, an Epistle and the Gospel passage from the New Testament, the scripture is from the Gospel of Matthew.
While reading and listening to the passages of scripture please recognize how they correlate. The Old Testament foretells the coming of Christ and the New Testament tells of it happening, or it shows the fulfillment of prophecy.
We see how specific the scripture is when we look at how the different authors, many of whom did not know each other, lived in different times yet, the writings are so precise in how they tell the story of what is yet to happen, and then we see in the New Testament how the various prophecies have been fulfilled.
When someone argues that the Bible is contradictory, I love to share how accurate the Bible is. I choose to believe the scripture. Does that mean I understand everything about the Bible? No, but I allow myself the opportunity to read further and study other ancient writings which support much of what the Bible says.
As we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, let us be aware of others who will go without His love this season. Why are they going without His love? Because they have not chosen to receive Him or, believe in His love and coming to this earth.
In west Liberty, Ohio, where I lived as a youngster, the grain elevator would install this large light in the shape of a star on the top of the elevator and kept it lit throughout the Christmas season. You can see this star for quite a distance as you travel toward West Liberty.
There was a woman who was expecting a child about anytime and happened to be out and about one evening just before Christmas. It had started snowing and she really needed to get home, but the snow was pretty fierce. While travelling ever so slowly with anticipation, she is able to see the star on the West Liberty Elevator and it was then that she felt certain relief for she knew she was near home and everything is going to be okay.
As you travel through the snow storms of life, keep looking for the star of hope. That star may come in many forms for you but, be sensitive to the assistance God is providing for you.
From my family to yours, Merry Christmas!
The Most Rev. Michael Layne, PhD, ThD, can be reached at 812-614-2160 or www.doclayne.com Christ Lutheran Mission meets on Wednesday evenings at 6:30 for study (dismissed this Wednesday for Christmas).