Given By Rev. Madison Shockley December 25, 2016

Jesus’ birth is told from two different perspectives. The Gospel of Luke is told from the perspective of Mary while Matthew speaks from the perspective of Joseph. Today, we are looking at Matthew’s version. It begins with Joseph receiving some bad news, Mary is pregnant. Since they were not yet married and Joseph was not responsible for her condition, this was a problem. It is also bad news for Mary. Adultery was a serious matter. Women were stoned for this offense. Luckily, Joseph was a righteous man meaning he followed the law. Rather than subject Mary to public humiliation, Joseph decided to divorce her privately. This spared Mary’s life and allowed Joseph to take onto himself the public humiliation of the failed marriage. All this bad news must have been very depressing for Joseph. We have all been there. We have all faced some degree of depression. After this election season, many are suffering, not just because their candidate lost but now must face the fulfillment of the winner’s promises. Deportation, loss of health care, loss of life due to lack of medical access, racial tension, and the consequences of environmental degradation, all are causes for deep concern and depression. Many are like Joseph, just wanting to crawl into bed and go to sleep. While Joseph slept, he began to dream. An angel spoke to him. The message was simple, do not be afraid. The message of Christmas is, even in the face of really bad news, we can still have hope. Never stop dreaming. We must keep dreaming that one day, justice will win, human rights will be achieved, hope, compassion and love will prevail, and God’s love will make all our dreams come true.