4th Advent

Read the ‘Liturgy and prayer’ specially written for us by Rev Kathy Galloway

Read ‘The role of Joseph’ by Jack Stroman.

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 Study the artwork: “Joseph with Infant” by Guercino (1591-1666)

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You might like to colour the ‘stained glass window’: Joseph and Mary alone together

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Light the pink candle and add it to your Christmas wreath

FOURTH WEEK OF ADVENT LITURGY

To begin

To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul. 

O lover of souls,

You hold on to us even if we fail to hold on to you

Come greet us in our distress

Wrap our souls in the immensity of your love.

You see us lost and wandering

Come and guide us home.

O Lightener of the stars

You know our night time fears

Come and brighten the darkness.

O God of Light and Hope

You love us even in our darkness

Come! Bring your Light

 

Matthew 1, 18-25   The Birth of Jesus the Messiah

Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.’ All this took place to fulfil what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
‘Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel’,
which means, ‘God is with us.’ When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.

Reflection

Joseph is often overlooked in the Advent and Christmas story. He’s just there in the background; sometimes, he’s not there at all.  But without him, there would be no story, at least not in the way we are familiar with. He gives Mary unwavering care and support, even when it’s dangerous, even when he would have been expected to, and been justified in, turning away from her, according to the common practice of his time and place. But not only is he by her side;  interestingly, the gospel of Matthew traces Jesus’ royal lineage through Joseph, not through Mary. It’s a clear message that inclusion in the family of God does not come through DNA, is not biological but depends on adoption through love and acceptance. This is a word for us all.

Activity

Place the fourth candle on the wreath and light the four candles.

Read ‘The role of Joseph’ by Jack Stroman, and study the artwork: “Joseph with Infant” by Guercino (1591-1666)

Colour the stained glass window of Joseph and Mary alone together

Prayer

God, you love us with a tender love

Like Mary, holding us gently and safely,

Like Joseph, breaking with harsh tradition

to stand by his beloved and her baby.

Still our restless hearts to rest in you,

Knowing ourselves loved,

knowing ourselves precious

God, be with us in our waiting

To end

The blessing of the God of Sarah and Hagar and Abraham,

The blessing of the God of Moses and Miriam,

The blessing of the God of Elizabeth and Zechariah and Joseph

the blessing of the Son, born of Mary,

The blessing of the Holy Spirit

Who broods over us as a mother over her children

be with us now and always.

Amen.


The full advent pack is available here: https://wellingtonchurchglasgow.files.wordpress.com/2021/12/complete-1.pdf


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