A Sunday of Love
On this Sunday, however, I am reminded that love is so much more as demonstrated in today's New Testament lesson: "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 fulfill 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."
Even before Joseph is visited by an angel, he carries love in his heart. His betrothed is pregnant and he knows he is NOT the father. But he CHOSES (out of love), not to disgrace her. He COULD have. Think of how hurt he must have been to find out that she was pregnant and he was NOT the father. Yet it is out of love and compassion that he decides to dismiss her quietly; BEFORE he is visited by the angel. To love someone with all our heart and soul is to be compassionate when we want to be otherwise. How great is the depth of that kind of love?
As we conclude the season of Advent, let us focus on love. If only for this Sunday, let us act in love. Let us SHOW love. Not just to those who we "should" love, but to those who need our love. Act with compassion and the love that Joseph showed to Mary and to his son, Jesus.