The Value(s) of Joseph

December 18, 2016

Christ Church Episcopal, Norcross, GA
4th Sunday of Advent – Year A
Isaiah 7:10-16; Romans 1:1-7; Matthew 1:18-25

(Gospel Text provided below)

When I was 24 years old, after a couple of years at one of the Big-8 Accounting firms (now it’s the Big 4), I was hired to be the supervisor of a Commercial Loan Accounting department at First City Bank in Houston. In this role, I’d manage a staff of eight people, all of whom were older than me.

My experience as an auditor was with Oil & Gas clients and a few hospitals. I knew nothing about banking, aside from having a checking account, and even that was fairly new to me. I’d never been a supervisor in a work-setting – so needless to say, being hired into this role was a bit daunting. I joked that the real reason I was hired was because Mary, the department manager, wanted me to play on her inter-bank softball team! But, it’s more likely that Mary hired me, at some level, because of my father.

Now, a few years earlier this would have been a problem. When I trying to get my first job after college, I wanted desperately to be hired independent of my family. My dad was a prominent Houston City Councilman, even a potential contender for Mayor. dad-collage-2 I love my dad, and he’s a huge part of my life, but I really wanted to “make it on my own” like the Mary Tyler Moore theme song!

Yet here I was, just a couple of years later, being hired into a job with no proven experience, and if I’m honest, softball team notwithstanding, it was probably based on my boss’s knowledge of my father. Now, she didn’t know him personally, but what she did know about him, she liked and respected. So, despite all I didn’t bring to the table, Mary took a chance on me – which began my twenty-year career in bank operations. Read the rest of this entry »

Christ Church Episcopal, Norcross, GA

4th Sunday of Advent – Year A RCL

Isaiah 7:10-16, Romans 1:1-7, Matthew 1:18-25

STILL WAITING… Picture1

But now things are getting interesting!

Today’s gospel lesson begins by saying: “Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way.” We’re on the edge of our seats! We want to hear the story; the WHOLE story – because then it will be Christmas! No more waiting!

And although we DO hear the whole story in today’s reading, it isn’t the one we’re used to hearing. It doesn’t mention the angel Gabriel appearing to Mary, or the journey back to Bethlehem. There are no shepherds in the field startled by a multitude of angels announcing the birth of the Messiah. No baby Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. All of that is in Luke’s Christmas story – in that story, Joseph doesn’t get much attention, instead Mary is at center-stage.

Matthew’s story, though, is very different, where Joseph has the prominent role.

Read the rest of this entry »

Emmaus House Episcopal Chapel, Atlanta, GA

2nd Sunday after Christmas – All Years (RCL) – Jeremiah 31:7-14, Ephesians 1:3-6,15-19a, Matthew 2:13-15,19-23

This was the first Christmas in my life that I was not with my family on either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. For some of you that may seem unfathomable and for others you still can’t imagine what it would be like to spend Christmas without your family or that special circle of friends.

Now, that’s not to say I didn’t celebrate the holiday with my family. We are a pretty practical bunch, so since everyone was traveling to Houston for a wedding before Christmas we had our holiday meal and gift exchange a week ahead of schedule. It was a wonderful time filled with laughter.

I knew that upon my return to Atlanta I would be embarking on a Christmas of another kind… an Emmaus House Christmas! During the week I was introduced to this community’s traditions… elves of all ages wrapping and sorting gifts, decorating a tree with fruit instead of traditional ornaments, and volunteers gathering on a cold Christmas Eve morning to bring joy to many who might otherwise not have much under the Christmas tree. And although being part of this wonderful event was gratifying, it still wasn’t my Christmas tradition. Read the rest of this entry »

%d bloggers like this: