From Jim Harnish, retired pastor of Hyde Park United Methodist in Tampa.
The Christmas tree business is booming! It’s evidently one way people are finding joy in this strange, COVID-infected season. The New York Times reported:
This year, with parties and vacations largely cancelled, one source of holiday cheer remains in tact: Christmas trees. Americans are buying the trees in droves and the farms that produce them are struggling to keep up.
So, what’s your “source of holiday cheer”?
Each year the Fourth Sunday of Advent always tells part of the story that just precedes the birth of Christ. In this year, 2020, come Sunday we will hear the story from Mary’s experience. These familiar episodes set the stage for one of the Bible’s best-known passages, the story of Christmas. In today’s readings, we hear the story from Joseph’s experience.
As part of his dream, the words of the angel of the Lord to Joseph are explained: “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’” (Mt 1:22-23) The prophet of whom the evangelist speaks is Isaiah. The specific narrative is the prophet’s interactions with King Ahaz of Judah (Isaiah 7:10-14)