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sjosephAs we move into the “last gasp” of preparation for Christmas on this fourth Sunday of Advent I would like to invite (or remind) those of you who are local to Binghamton to our Taize prayer service this evening at 6:00PM at the First Congregational Church at the corner of Front and Main Streets in Binghamton. It will be a service of light with silence, readings and song to help us “take a breath” before moving to the celebration of Incarnation that is Christmas. Please join us!

This morning the gospel reading focuses on Joseph, a major player in the drama that we celebrate in this season, but one about whom we know little. Sometimes I like to take myself back in time and touch into what it must have been like for Joseph to have his world turned upside down as it was when he found out that Mary was pregnant. (Mt. ch. 1) It’s hard to imagine what must have seemed “mind-blowing” for him, this just man who was probably looking forward to a rather serene life in a small town with the woman he loved. What must it have taken to trust both Mary and the messenger angel who spoke to him about this situation being a God event rather than a normal human one? And when Mary left town to go to her kinswoman, Elizabeth, how might he have explained her absence – and then her return, large with child! I imagine that Joseph had many serious conversations with God during this time as well as throughout his life. His struggles are not known to us. Rather we see a man whom we have come to know as strong yet gentle and caring, faithful and visionary, steadfast in the role he has been cast into for life. In other words: a great model for us as we walk our own  journey of faith.