The winter quarter begins, as December does, with Advent, a time to hear about and prepare for the coming of Jesus. To a people in exile far from home, Isaiah’s message of comfort is a welcome one. As we move week by week toward the celebration of Jesus’ birth, we, too, hear a message
of hope and comfort for a world seeking peace. As we wait for the Messiah, we learn of his ancestors, faithful throughout generations, and the announcement of his birth to a worried father, assuring him that “God is with us. The story of Jesus’ birth is made known, and wise ones seek him, bringing gifts and worshiping him. Then, in order to protect Jesus, God leads Joseph and his young family to safety.
Through the first few chapters of Matthew, we follow Jesus from his birth to his baptism and then his early ministry as crowds are drawn to him, to hear his word, to feel his touch. Their hearts and souls yearn for his good news. Through metaphor and imagery—salt, light, birds of the air, dressed-up flowers in the fields, specks and logs, and houses on rock and sand—Jesus knows where people are in need and how to capture their imaginations and their hearts.