Fourth Sunday of Advent, Year A

19th-century-mary-and-joseph-1024x559God Is with Us

Have we ever been in a situation where we desperately needed God’s help, yet were unwilling to acknowledge it? That was King Ahaz of Judah. Jerusalem was under attack and Ahaz’s only solution was a foreign alliance.  God sent him word through the Pyophet Isaiah that all Ahaz had to do was put his faith in God, but Ahaz would not listen.

God sent a second word to Ahaz to not only encourage him, but to make it clear that His protection was Ahaz’s only hope. God is always our best hope, but Ahaz had turned away from God, Nonetheless, God, in his mercy, was willing to go to great lengths for the sake of Judah. Through the prophet, he offered Ahaz this remarkable reassurance:

Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, saying, Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven. But Ahaz said, I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test.   (Isaiah 7:10-11)

Ahaz was unwilling to listen to God. He covered up his stubbornness through a false piety. However, he did not and could not foresee the many obstacles that lay ahead. His view was very shortsighted. Our plans often fail but God’s plans do not, especially when we follow them. Only God sees the bigger picture. At best, we see through a glass darkly.

God had a plan for Judah which extended far beyond the problems that Ahaz faced. His plan was so far-reaching that it applies to us this very day. The Prophet Isaiah spoke these glorious words to Ahaz:

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
    and they shall name him Emmanuel,”

which means, “God is with us.”

We may not reach out to God but God has reached out to us. Not only that, but he has joined. He has given us his greatest assurance by giving us his greatest gift. We are not alone. We do not have to depend only on our limited knowledge and skills. He is not limited. And he is Emmanuel – “God with us.” We are not alone!

Who can fathom the Incarnation? Our miracle of new life begins with God’s new life. Jesus is both God and man. And he is preparing us to follow in his steps. We are to become like him. We will never be the eternal begotten Son of God, but we will become joint heirs with him in the Kingdom of God. Are we ready?

Come Lord Jesus. Come into our hearts as we open them to you. Let us put our full trust in him. Amen.

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Filed under Advent, homily, lectionary, liturgical preaching, liturgy, preaching, Revised Common Lectionary, sermon, Year A

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