Most weeks in our churches the preacher will follow what we call the lectionary; the appointed readings of the day. The lectionary is shared by many traditions including Roman Catholics and Anglicans. From Advent Sunday December 1st the focus on a Sunday morning changes from Luke to Matthews gospel. The narratives of Jesuss ministry and teachings, and then his journey to the cross are familiar but told with subtle differences and emphasises. Matthew (or sometimes called Levi) unlike Luke was Jewish. He was probably a tax collector on the road to Capernaum until Jesus called him to follow him. Matthew wrote his gospel for a predominantly Jewish audience and focuses on Jesus being the fulfilment of the Old Testament; even quoting from it 62 times. His purpose in writing to the Jews was to show that Jesus of Nazareth was the expected messiah and both his genealogy and his resurrection were legitimate proofs of this.
Matthews gospel tells us how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about. We are told that the angel of the Lord appears in a dream to Joseph to take the already pregnant Mary as his wife. Matthew tells us that this took place to fulfil what had been spoken by the prophet Isaiah. Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call him Emmanuel.
That is the heart of the Christmas message. The child born in a manger is Emmanuel; God is with us.
God is with those who face disaster
God is with those who have lost a loved one
God is with those who are suffering and/or in pain
God is with those who struggle with anxiety and depression
God is with those who are facing serious illnesses
God is with the homeless and those who have nothing
God is with US all. God is with us always.
This Christmas let us share with all the good news of the birth of the Christ child, called Emmanuel. God is with us.
Christmas Greetings to you all
Love and Peace
Message from Superintendent Revd. Mark Davenport