Mount of Olives panorama

Mount of Olives panorama
A panoramic view of the Mount of Olives

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Fourth Sunday of Advent: Peace

Christmas is almost here!

The Fourth Sunday of Advent
2011 date, December 18; 2012 date, December 22
Link to the Mormon Times article in The Deseret News (coming) and Good Tidings of Great Joy, 116-117.

Earlier posts in this series:
 The final Sunday of Advent, closest to Christmas Eve, is the one that best celebrates the imminent birth of the Prince of Peace.  The contrast between the Newborn King and worldly kings such as the vicious Herod Great make it clear that the peace that Jesus brings is often spiritual and internal, often in spite of the turbulence that exists in the world around us.  Yet because Advent also anticipates the Second Coming of Christ, scriptural passages that talk of the peace that he brings also have a literal, millennial application.            

After lighting all the outer candles, including now the fourth purple candle, I recommend the following passages:
  • Isaiah 11:1–10
  • Mosiah 15:18–20
  • John 14:27
  • Philippians 4:7
A fitting carol for the last Sunday of Advent is “It Came upon the Midnight Clear,” the last verse of which speaks of the time “when the new heaven and earth shall own the Prince of Peace their king.”

I suggest that this week’s theme be tied to the unfolding Christmas story by reading the account of the Annunciation to Joseph from Matthew 1:18–23.  The gentle carpenter, also of the royal house of David, was a man of peace who was also a strong, inspired man, chosen to love and protect the Baby Jesus and his mother, Mary.  He thus provides a wonderful model as a righteous husband and father.

Regarding Joseph, I have written, “Those who have adopted or fostered the children of others may identify particularly with Joseph.  But those of us who have biological children of our own or even those who have not yet been blessed with any children can still learn a dear lesson from the example of Joseph.  In a real sense, none of our children are our own.  Priceless spirit children of heavenly parents, all children on this earth are only here on loan from a loving God who trusts all of us—parents, grandparents, family, friends, and even strangers—to protect, care for, teach, and love them. . . . as I look at my own precious children, I feel, like Joseph, that I have been entrusted with a great treasure.  Recognizing that Joseph was a strong, responsible, and loving man who sought and received revelation to care for his family, I am inspired to emulate those qualities.  In those moments, the gift I hope to give my Lord that year is to be more like Joseph the Carpenter.” (Good Tidings of Great Joy, 34). 

The second part of the following video clip focuses on the traditional site that honors Joseph.

As part of our recognizing and honoring Joseph, I love the song, "Joseph Dearest, Joseph Mine."  In Good Tidings of Great Joy, 36, I wrote: “One of the most popular Christmas songs in Germany, this tune has been sung to two different texts, Resonet in laudibus, the earliest copy of which dates to between 1355 and 1360, and Joseph, Lieber Joseph Mein, which may be as old as 1400.  Frequently sung after the Reformation in Lutheran communion services on Christmas Eve, it was also sung at weddings because the loving relationship between Joseph and Mary seemed to typify the ideal Christian marriage.  In harmony with Matthew’s focus on the figure of Joseph the Carpenter, the role the lyrics paint for Joseph is a fitting tribute to the man chosen to be the protector of the Son of God.”

No comments:

Post a Comment