St Alban’s Episcopal Church
Bolivar, Missouri
Thursday, December 15, 2022

Ten days before Christmas COLD weather on the way

Our Christmas Eve service
Scheduled for 5 pm on Christmas Eve, Saturday night, December 24.
HOWEVER, if the weather that is predicted actually arrives – with temperatures below zero and winds of 50 mph, we will cancel. I don’t want anybody out in weather like that especially in the dark.
We will let you know early that day – with alternative plans if necessary.

The First Lesson for Sunday, December 18
Isaiah 7:10-16
The Lord spoke to Ahaz, saying, Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven. But Ahaz said, I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test. Then Isaiah said, “Hear, then, O House of David! Is it too little for you to weary mortals, that you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel. He shall eat curds and honey by the time he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good. For before the child knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land before whose kings you are in dread will be deserted.

What is going on here?
This will be the basis for the Sunday sermon, along with the Gospel, but briefly – if you are able, go back to the first verse of this chapter and read forward to Sunday’s reading. This is about 8th century BC politics – King Ahaz of Judah (capital in Jerusalem) was being attacked by the northern Kingdom, Israel – with its capital in Samaria, King Pekah and a neighbor, Syria – King Rekah.
They had all been vassals to the powerful Assyrians – but the northerners had asked Ahaz to join their rebellion against Assyria to throw off the Assyrian yoke. Ahaz refused. He knew they would fail. He refused the invitation to fight, but ALSO the invitation of Isaiah to trust God. Secretly, Ahaz has already aligned with Assyria and sought protection from the king of Assyria against Israel and Syria. He has even sent gold and silver from the temple to that pagan king – a despicable breach of faith
Ahaz refuses to ask for a sign because he doesn’t intend to trust God no matter what God does. But God gives him one anyway – He points out a young woman pregnant – and says, “before that baby, to be named Emmanuel -“God is with us,” is two years old, those two kings will be deposed and powerless. SO TRUST GOD.”
This is all about trust – versus unbelief – and the consequences of each. So how does this fit into the Gospel story in Matthew? Wait and see. Or read it yourself and figure it out – Matthew 1:18-25.



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