Christmas Dreams…

Last week we were thinking about expectations, and we know where that got us… this week we’re onto dreams… last week John the Baptist, this week Mary and Joseph, and the dreams that they had…

Image result for what is your dream

Our reading was from Matthew’s Gospel, chapter 1, verses 18-25 which you can find here

Of course the text below isn’t what I actually said, but it is what I planned to say… if you want to here the whole shebang, its on the church website here

What does it mean to have a dream? On 28th August 1963 a preacher stood and proclaimed these words ‘I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed – we hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.’ Martin Luther King, for it was he, was speaking of his great passion for the civil rights movement to lead towards total and complete equality between black and white… but in a sense it wasn’t his dream… he didn’t come up with idea- he was standing, as he acknowledged, in the shadow of the statue of George Washington who had, 100yrs previously signed the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring slavery illegal throughout the United States… but even that was built upon the declaration of independence and the American Constitution… In a sense none of these people had a dream- the dream had them. A vision of how it could be, a sense of what needed to happen…something got hold of them and caused them to change their plans, their ways of being… as I recently heard it put- people don’t choose dreams, dreams choose them, so the question is do I have the courage to grab the dream that picked me?

Last week we were thinking about John the Baptist, and the fruit- the things that grew out of his ministry, and the things that were the fruit of Jesus’ ministry… those things happened in part because individuals took heart and grabbed hold of the dream that was in front of them… John preached repentance- they chose to repent. Jesus preached healing and forgiveness- they chose forgiveness and were healed in soul and body…

What is the dream that stands in front of us?

In our Bible passage today, as we remember Mary the mother of Jesus, we hear not of her obedience (that passage you’ll find in Luke’s Gospel and you can hear it this evening at our carol service!), but of Joseph’s- he has a pledged wife who is pregnant… he has every good reason to abandon her and no good reason to stick with her… and then he has a dream… ‘Do not be afraid’- these are good words of advice when you’re considering grabbing hold of a dream… Dreams often involve flying… they are rarely under our control…

Joseph is also known- this is no strange hallucination or idle day dream… the angel addresses him by his name and the name of his family… The dream he is given is of God’s mighty hand at work- he’s given a glimpse into the perspective of God… ‘here is what I am about to do- will you play a part?’

And this thing that God was doing was mindblowing in its simplicity, as many dreams are- he was going to send his Son as God with the people- Immanuel… and his Son would save- God would save through his Son with his… Jesus, Immanuel, the Messiah. He would save people from the thing that everyone needed to be saved from, and would call them into new life- he would save them from the lies and deception of our sins, and call them into a new life of truth and love…

Last week we were considering the fruit that God would grow in us- the ways in which he would be at work in us, making us more like Christ in our own lives and as we are a part of his people here…

Today we consider, what is the dream that God has for us? Its not to bring his Son into this world and to be his parents- that was the dream God had for Joseph. But what is the dream that stands before us?

The thing with dreams, the thing with hopes, is that they are there for us to grab hold of. But we can ignore them. We can decide not to- there are all sorts of seemingly good reasons to leave them be, just as there were all sorts of reasons why Joseph could have abandoned Mary. But the truth of it is that he knew the right thing, and he stepped out and took hold of it- when Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him. He gave Mary’s son the name Jesus… and the world was changed…

What dream does God have for us here, for us as a church? As we work together to proclaim Christ’s live in ourselves and our community, what do we dream will happen? And how are we being obedient to that dream? If we take that risk, what might happen?

If you want to look at the video that I mentioned, you can find it here, it’s pretty cool, if you like your well-scripted and nicely shot first person spoken to camera motivational videos, which I do. If you prefer your classic speech text, then check out the full text of Martin Luther King’s speech, you can find it here, among other places.

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