How many times were you asked as a child, “What do you want for Christmas?” How many times have you asked this? On the surface this is a very material question, a question that can lead straight into the consumer side of this holy season. Yet underneath there is an existential longing....”What do you want?” We continue to ponder this question no matter our age? “What do you want?” Health and happiness for our families, peace on earth, justice for all...housing and food abundance for all...healing for the earth...and end to war....an end to the climate crisis.....
What do you want during this holy time, this last week of Advent that leads to the Sunday when we light the candle of Love? What do you want from your heart, from the soul house within your heart?
Joseph, the father of Jesus, just wanted propriety, no drama, no scandal, when he discovered that his betrothed, Mary, was with child. The implication in our gospel reading from Matthew 1 this coming Sunday is that Joseph probably did not buy into the “with child from the Holy Spirit”explanation... “...being a righteous man and unwilling to expose [Mary] to public disgrace,” he planned to break off the betrothal quietly. However, the dreams of God got in his way.
“...just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit ... you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." ... When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him” .... (from Matthew 1:18-25)
What do you want during this holy time, this last week of Advent that leads to the Sunday when we light the candle of Love? Are you willing to listen to the dreams of your heart and soul? Will you listen to the dreams of God in scripture to discern what you want?
I leave you with a poem titled, “What We Want” by Linda Paston from her book, Carnival Evening. Ponder with the poet, “What do you want this Christmas?”
What we want
is never simple.
We move among the things
we thought we wanted...
But what we want appears
in dreams, wearing disguises....
We don't remember the dream,
but the dream remembers us.
With you on this final week of our Advent journey,
The Rev. Jane Anne Ferguson, Associate Minister, is a writer, storyteller, and contributor to Feasting on the Word, a popular biblical commentary. She is also the writer of sermon-stories.com, a lectionary-based story-commentary series. Read more