Homily – 4th Sunday of Advent, Year A

4th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A
Isaiah 7:10-14
Romans 1:1-7
Matthew 1:18-24
December 22, 2013

God offers King Ahaz a sign!

If God offered you a sign what would you ask for?

Would you ask for something simple or go “big”?

World peace?  Miracle cure?  A job?

I’m sure various things come to mind but let’s take a look at what Ahaz asked for.  Actually, it turns out he doesn’t ask for anything.  He says he does not want to “tempt the Lord” in according with chapter 6 of Deuteronomy.

On the surface this might make Ahaz look holy but when we look behind the scenes, it turns out Ahaz has his own plan apart from the Lord.

Then, even though Ahaz didn’t ask for a sign, one is offered – this birth of a son to a virgin.  Of course, this is fulfilled centuries later with Jesus’ birth.

We are almost to Christmas but not yet!  We are still waiting.  Appropriately, our gospel today comes from a point when it is almost time for Jesus’ birth but not yet.

Mary is pregnant.  She was betrothed to Joseph but he knows he is not the father so, being a righteousness man, he prepares to leave her.  He’s trying to do what is right but he needs a sign to know the right thing to do.  On his own, he would have not followed God’s plan.

Joseph’s sign is the appearance of an angel in a dream.  The angel explains to him that it is by the Holy Spirit that she has conceived.  The angel tells him that he is to take Mary and Jesus into his home.  When God’s will is made known to him, Joseph does it.

What sign do we need for us to do God’s will?

The scriptures are full of signs.  Some signs are miracles.  Some come in the fulfillment of prophecies like the prophecy offered through Isaiah of Jesus’ birth, quoted in today’s gospel.

God can speak to us in different ways but is not Jesus’ birth among the greatest of signs?

Do you need proof of the value of Jesus’ birth as a sign?

Jesus’ birth speaks volumes to us.  We have proof.  This weekend we will probably have somewhere around 700 people.  For Christmas we could break 1200 (I’m hoping for even more).

Why?  Because people are looking for a sign!  I think whatever goes on in our lives, we know there has to be something more.

Of course, that something more is God.

There can be a lot of things that happen for Christmas.  There are parties and concerts at school for the children that have already happened before the Christmas vacation began this weekend.  There can be parties at work.  There will be family celebrations.

I hope all your Christmas celebrations are wonderful!  But even when all the parties go well, there is still something more.  It’s what we will celebrate here.

After our weekend Masses, we will be decorating our church for Christmas.  We will put up evergreen trees as a sign of everlasting life.  We’ll put up lights as a reminder that Jesus is the Lord of the world.

The Christmas decoration I like the most is our manger scene.  Why should the manger scene be so important amongst all our decorations?  It is the manger scene that points to the reason we celebrate Christmas, Jesus.

About four years ago, a song came out called “Where’s the Line to see Jesus?” song by Becky Kelley.  You can find it on YouTube with over 4 million views.  It’s got its own website.  There are a lot of children who wait in the line to see Jesus.

Whether you are a child or an adult, we are here to be in line to see Jesus.  It is Jesus that we seek at Christmas.

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