Fourth Sunday of Advent- Year A


During Advent we often sing "O Come, Emmanuel". So, who is Emmanuel? A better question would be, "What is Emmanuel?" It is a visible demonstration of invisible God. About 750 years before Jesus' birth, the country we call Iraq, wanted to conquer the Middle East. Israel and Syria had teamed up to fight against this incursion. Judah--the southern half of Israel--decided to make a disastrous alliance with enemy. Ahaz, king of Judah, had made up his mind to this--selling out his own country. Isaiah came to the king, pleading for him to "trust God and not give up." He even offered to work a miracle to give proof of God's dependability. Ahaz had weak faith and refused to ask for any signs or miracles.
Isaiah, frustrated, offered one anyway. He said that the king's young wife would give birth to a male child. No one would know that this could happen except God. The child was born, but Ahaz named him Hezekiah.


The virgin shall be with child and shall give birth to a son

Descended from David according to the flesh


An angel  appeared to Joseph in a dream
What are you giving to Jesus on his birthday?


There were severe laws against pre-marital sex and adultery in Biblical times. If a man discovered that his fiancee was pregnant by another man, he had right to denounce his wife. She could be sentenced to death by stoning. The husband-to-be would cast first rock. Joseph discover's Mary's pregnancy and is shamed. He is a righteous man--a strict observer of Jewish Law. He is also a compassionate person and decides to arrange a no-fault separation, without admitting or denying paternity of child. This will save Mary's life. God intervenes to state that there is no human father for Jesus. Joseph's faith leads him to accept.

Related: Resources on Sunday Readings - Clipart, homelies, articles, coloring pages, music: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John

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