Second Sunday after Christmas 05 January 2020 A.D. Holy Communion

                   Second Sunday after Christmas   Holy Communion            04 January 2020 A.D.

                          The Epistle: Isaiah 61:1-3                The Gospel: Matthew 2:19-23

                                         ALMIGHTY God, who hast poured upon us the                                      new light of thine incarnate Word; Grant that
                                        the same light enkindled in our hearts may shine forth                                  in our lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord.    Amen. 

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;
3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.

19 But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt,
20 Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child's life.
21 And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel.
22 But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee:
23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.

                   Alleluia.  Unto us a child is born. O come, let us adore him.  Alleluia.

  “Preach, proclaim, and comfort”    Are we doing that ?  If you notice in the words of Isaiah those three actions are expressed.  What are we doing to follow the command of the Holy Spirit ?
Notice in the collect for today the phrase,
 ‘...Grant that the same light enkindled in our hearts may shine forth in our lives...’
As followers of the Christ, who came to earth in such a humble manner, we too, in humility should reach out to the lost and tell them, proclaim to them, the comfort and salvation provided by this Christ who we follow. 
        As we begin this new year let us look for opportunities to share our faith with those around us. “Preach, proclaim, and comfort” all indicate action.  Now understand that to preach does not always mean a prepared message or time of speaking to others.  We can preach by our actions, our every day transactions with those around us. 
        If you look at some of the examples of ordinary folk in the Bible, they ministered, preached, proclaimed and comforted those around them.  Look at Lydia, she was a cloth merchant. She was known for her honesty, her fair trade and integrity in the work-a-day world.  Look at the Faithful Centurion, he tried to be fair and even handed when he dealt with his soldiers, servants and those around him. There are many examples of preaching, proclaiming and comforting words of the Gospel being shared in the New Testament early church. 
       Ok, now we that we have reflected upon the words of Isaiah, what does the gospel message from Matthew instruct us to do ?   Obey ?  Yes, obey the Word of the Lord.  In the case of Joseph, the husband of Mary, the mother of Jesus, obedience was the key to doing what God instructed.  In this case, Joseph, following the instructions of a messenger from God, an angel, he took his family which had been in exile in Egypt back to his home area.  Instead of going back to Bethlehem, he would go to the city of Nazareth.  Understand that Joseph was relocated and had to find employment or offer his services as a carpenter where the Holy family were perfect strangers.
Going back to Bethlehem would have been ideal, but there were still folk who were related to those who wanted Jesus dead, still in charge.  So to be safe, Joseph went to another area, the city of Nazareth where he set up a carpentry shop.  As the passage from Matthew indicates, this was also part of prophecy, because then Jesus would be proclaimed as “ who came from Nazareth...the Nazarene...” .    Again, prophecy being fulfilled, in even the most mundane of details, the place that Jesus would call home;  Nazareth, not Bethlehem, even though he was of the house of David, born in the city of David.  
      Alright, if we are to follow orders or to obey, how do we make sure we are following the right orders ?  The Word of God is our guide.  We follow the Word, read and digest and inwardly accept the Word into our lives, this involves daily feeding upon the Word of God.
       At the time of Joseph, Mary and Jesus the New Testament did not exist, so dreams, visions and direct contact with angels were means of communication between God and man.   Now we have the Word of God complete, the canon of the Old and New Testament, we can rely on that Word of God to guide us.
     At the beginning of the year, this is a good time to start that habit, a daily reading of the Word.    We need to find the time when we can quietly read the Word of God, quietly reflect upon the Word, ask the Holy Spirit to guide us in the Word; all towards the goal of becoming more and more like Jesus in our daily walk with Him.

Let us pray:

 Prevent us, O Lord, in all our doings with thy most gracious favor, and further us
with thy continual help; that in all our works begun, continued, and ended in thee, we may glorify thy Holy Name, and finally by thy mercy obtain everlasting life. Grant us, O Father, if it be thy blessed will, a happy New Year; as we have begun it in thy presence, so may we end it in thy peace: and when our little span of mortal days is over, grant us thy servants rest and re-union for ever in the Paradise of God. Through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost; as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.                                             Amen

Almighty and Everlasting God, who dost govern all things in heaven and earth; Mercifully hear the supplications of us Thy servants, and grant unto this Parish all things that are needful for its spiritual welfare: schools wherein to bring up the young in Thy faith and fear; ministers to labor in this portion of Thy vineyard; a church perfected according to the beauty of holiness; strengthen and increase the faithful, visit and relieve the sick, turn and soften the wicked, arouse the careless, recover the fallen, restore
the penitent, remove all hindrances to the advancement of Thy truth and bring all to be of one heart and mind within the fold of Thy Holy Church, to the honor and praise of Thy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.                         Amen.

 O Lord Jesus Christ, who didst say unto Thy Disciples, Come ye apart into a desert place and rest a while; Grant we beseech Thee to Thy servants now gathered together, so to seek Thee whom our souls desire to love, that we may both find Thee and be found of Thee. Grant such love and such wisdom to accompany the words which shall be spoken in Thy name, that they may not fall to the ground, but may be helpful in leading us onward through the toils of our pilgrimage to that rest which remaineth, where, nevertheless, they rest not day nor night from Thy perfect service; who livest and reignest God for ever and ever.                           Amen.


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