Honoring Connections

Honoring Connections

Homily for the Sunday after the Nativity of Christ/The Theotokos, Joseph, James, David

Galatians 1:11-19                                  Matthew 2:5-23

2E5195C0-FA9C-4FA8-970B-935C97F84A95Today we continue our celebration of the great feast of the Nativity of our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ as a human being—the Word of God who took the body of a man, the invisible God who became a visible person, the Son of God who became the son of Mary, the Ruler of the whole universe who lay in a manger instead of sitting on a throne, who was born in a cave instead of in a palace.

Everything about the birth of Jesus is mysterious and miraculous.  It could only have happened because God wanted it to happen and made it happen, out of God’s boundless and uncontainable love and mercy for the people created in God’s own image and likeness.

On the day after we celebrate this amazing event, we honor Mary the Theotokos, the young woman who heard God’s plan and agreed to it, despite the confusion and shame that would result.  Very often in our Church calendar, the day after a feast is dedicated to the other people involved.  So we honor Mary on the day after Christ’s birth.  We honor Joachim and Anna the day after Mary’s birth.  We honor the Archangel Gabriel the day after the Annunciation.  We honor Simeon and Anna the day after the Entrance of the Lord into the Temple.

After Christmas, we expand this custom a little bit, so that on the Sunday following the Nativity of Jesus, we remember three men who are somehow related to Him—St Joseph, called a “righteous man” in St Matthew’s Gospel, the husband of the Virgin Mary, who accepted her baby as his own son.  St James, called the Brother of the Lord, and David the King and Prophet, ancestor of Joseph and heroic leader of God’s chosen people.

The Gospel readings for these days also continue the story of Mary and Joseph and the birth of Jesus.  St Matthew tells how the Wise Men from the East—probably from Persia—didn’t trust King Herod, so they went home by a different route after finding the child, worshipping Him, and offering their gifts.  The story goes on to relate the angel’s warning to Joseph and the Holy Family’s escape into Egypt, followed by Herod’s massacre of the Holy Innocents—all the baby boys in Bethlehem.

Finally, it tells how angelic messengers again appeared to Joseph, letting him know that it was safe to return, but not to Judea.  So Joseph, Mary, and Jesus went to live in Nazareth in Galilee.

However, there is a deeper meaning to this story.  The birth of Jesus—remember that His name means “God saves”—is so important, yet so miraculous, that only angels, messengers direct from God, can guide Joseph to do what he must do to protect and nurture this Holy Child.  The birth of Jesus is so important that Wise Men, even of a different faith, recognize and worship Him with joy.  The birth of Jesus is so important and world-changing that the king of the land seeks to kill Him but fails.

Jesus is truly “Emmanuel”—God with us.  We can hardly understand who He is and how He came to be a human person like us, but we believe because God has told us.  We recognize and worship Him with joy.  We hold and protect and nurture Him in our hearts and lives.  And no power on earth can kill Him or stop His love and mercy from saving His people.

And so, like Mary and Joseph and James and David and the Wise Men and the shepherds, we always give thanks and praise and glory to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and ever and to ages of ages.  Amen

Fr. James Graham

This entry was posted in Bulletin. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s