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Carol Service Reading 1 - A Saviour For Families in Crisis - Matthew 1:18-25

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel”
(which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.
Matthew 1:18–25

Joseph knew how babies were made - and when he found his fiance bulging with someone else’s child inside, it seemed like his dreams of a good marriage to Mary were over. He’d been betrayed. But being a good man, he didn’t lose it, slag her off on facebook or have a public screaming match - he decided the best thing to do was to quietly call off the wedding and let her sort this out properly.

And then, in the midst of the turmoil of a crumbling marriage, an angel appears in a dream, assures him that this is God’s plan. His suspicions are unfounded. His marriage has a future. His intention to divorce her was premature, even foolish, in hindsight. His temptation to distrust her almost screwed up everything.

So they marry. But it’s still a bit odd - they’re still a bit at arms length: young, married but not sleeping together.

Finally after months of waiting, when they’re in Bethlehem, a baby is born. And Joseph, who has stood by her through the gossip and the uncertainty and the pregnancy, steps up. Jesus becomes his son. As a father, he names his son. As a husband he protects and provides for his family. Jesus birth catapults them from being a couple at arms length to being a full blown family.

So, in a small way, Jesus brings together a family that was almost torn apart by mistrust and suspicion. Jesus comes bringing hope for all families - not to repair every failing relationship, although there is hope for that - but to welcome us into God’s family.

Jesus comes because God is a Father who steps up. He comes so that we can trust God again and know God as our Father. He comes to fix our brokenness, to take away our shame and to make us the family that God has always wanted us to be.

So, this Christmas, we celebrate the coming of the Son of God.

Mustard Seed Soul Band comes to PBC

Mustard Seed Soul Band

The Mustard Seed Soul Band will be performing at Paulsgrove Baptist Church this Saturday.

Tickets are still available at £5 each - either book online at www.mustardseedsongs.org.uk or phone 023 9232 5944 during office hours. (Tickets will be available for purchase on the door, but at the higher price of £6).

Men's Bible Study

PBC men: the Monday night men's bible study kicks off again tonight. Studies in Hebrews. 8pm @ PBC.

Hardcore Hebrews: Men's bible study starts at 8pm