Blog Space of Rev. Adrian J. Pratt B.D, pastor at Mount Hebron Presbyterian Church, Ellicott City, MD

Monday, December 16, 2019

Ordinary and Extraordinary

Ordinary and Extraordinary

This past Sunday here at Mount Hebron Presbyterian Church we celebrated the third Sunday of Advent with our children's Nativity play. We survived! And the kids did a great job. This week we are taking a look at Matthew 1:18-25 and the account of an angel visiting Joseph in a dream, convincing him to take Mary as his wife and to call their new born baby “Emmanuel” which means “God is with us.”

We are not told much about Joseph in the Scriptures. We presume that because Jesus became a carpenter he was involved in the same trade. We know that he loved Mary with a deep intensity, as he was not prepared to allow her to be shamed. We know he was a solid man of prayer and devotion.

We know that his namesake, in the Old Testament, was also a person who had his life interrupted by dreams. The hit musical “Joseph and His Technicolor Dreamcoat” has kept the story of that Old Testament Joseph in the contemporary imagination.

Dreams are such strange, intangible things. We all have them. But we don't all depend on them in the way that the dreaming Josephs' of the Old and New Testament are said to have done. As the result of a dream Joseph, earthly father of Jesus, takes Mary as his wife.

As a result of a dream he flees to Egypt just in time to escape the crazed King Herod's slaughter of innocent newborns. On the strength of a dream, he returns from Egypt to set up home in Nazareth. According to Matthew, all these dreams were related to biblical prophecies that took place long before he was born.

There is a saying in both the world of entertainment and sport. “The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is practice.” Joseph was a very ordinary man. Mary was a very ordinary woman. What made their lives extraordinary was the way they practiced their faith. Joseph could have divorced Mary or even acted as the law suggested and allowed her to be stoned to death because of alleged adultery. The Christmas story would have ended right there.

Instead Joseph turns out to be a person of vision. A person who could tell the difference between a dream that came from too much cheese after supper and one inspired by God's Holy Spirit. Have you ever heard people who described themselves as “Non-practicing Christians?” Joseph is nothing like that!

As God is God I am sure God can communicate with us in numerous wonderful ways. It is for us to practice our faith, so that if the unusual does come our way... we are ready and willing to follow. Being regular in worship, study, prayer and service is a great way to practice. The difference between ordinary and extraordinary really is practice.

Just in case you have already had enough of Christmas music to last way beyond the festive season, here is a song by Jason Donovan from the musical about the other Joseph... the one from the Old Testament with the colorful coat..."Any Dream Will Do .

Here at Mount Hebron Presbyterian we will, of course, be celebrating the Christmas Season.
Join Us!

December 22, Advent 4 "Between Ordinary and Extraordinary" (Matthew 1:18-25) 10:00 am
December 24, Christmas Eve 7:00 P.M. "Lessons, Carols and Candlelight" 7:00 pm
December 24 "Christmas Eve Midnight Communion" (11:30 pm in Hebron House)
December 29 "The Nightmare After Christmas" (Matthew 2:13-23) 10:00 am.

The Reverend Adrian J. Pratt B.D.

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