There's a blog I frequent called Father Jake Stops the World. Usually Father Jake doesn't post his sermons but he did today and I'm very glad he did. Here's how it gets started:
It’s almost Christmas, but not quite yet. On this fourth Sunday of Advent, we have to set aside our knowledge of how the story turns out, if we are to appreciate the situation in which Mary and Joseph find themselves in this morning’s Gospel.
This young couple have just become engaged, when they discover that Mary is with child. Uh-oh. Joseph decides to call off the wedding, in an attempt to limit the public disgrace. But then an angel appears to him in a dream, and tells him it’s ok…that the child to be born will be a Savior.
You have to give Joseph some credit here. Angel or no angel, I’m not so sure I would have stayed by Mary’s side in that situation. But Joseph does. Their lives, of course, are turned upside down. Their dreams of a quiet life in Nazareth just flew out the window. Why? Because God had a better plan. And by being faithful to God’s leading, they were deeply blessed.
Sometimes I think that we are all inclined to give up a little too quickly. We think we are following God’s will, but things don’t go as we thought they would, and so we decide the whole idea was a mistake. Maybe we heard God wrong. And sometimes, I think we give up just before the miracle. Because it just might be that it isn’t a case of miscommunication with God, but more a matter of God’s vision being bigger than ours. Sometimes, even when we don’t understand why things seem to be falling apart all around us, we have to place our faith in God. Because maybe God has a better plan.
If you want to read the rest of it (and I urge you to do so), you can find it right here. If you ever get discouraged because of the current unpleasantness within the Episcopal Church, please read this sermon. It will gladden your heart.