1. Matthew makes it abundantly clear that Joseph lacked one thing: Control. He may have been the titular head of his emerging household, but he was clearly not in charge. God was, as God always is.
  2. John the Baptist’s question in our text offers you an opportunity to help your congregation take seriously the doubts experienced by those who live by faith.
  3. The Lord is coming, that much is certain. He is coming to reign, not only over the heavens, but also over the members of your congregation.
  4. The creation of this word reminds us that the Magnificat, like Christmas itself, is charged from the start with joy and praise.
  5. Sometimes it is the unnamed characters in the Bible who can most help present-day readers find their own place in the biblical story.
  6. Like Isaiah and John, we look forward to that great and glorious day, trusting the resurrected One will return as He promised.
  7. At the center of this gospel reading is a conversation. It was of the memorable variety. It involved a peasant girl from a small town and a mighty messenger from God.
  8. Whatever else may come, however worse it may get, the light has come and will come again.
  9. Mark makes no effort to impress listeners or win votes. His voice aims only to prepare those who hear it for the coming of the Lord.
  10. Unlike Luke, who provides most of the parts for the children’s program (the shepherds, the angel hosts, the innkeeper, and the animals), Matthew’s version is rated “M” for mature.
  11. There he sat, awaiting his executioner. John looked around at what God and His Messiah were not doing, and even the greatest among those born of woman had his doubts. “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?”
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