St Joseph with the Infant Jesus by Guido Reni

This unique gift of “the God who saves” is Jesus, who is “more than the accumulated best of his ancestors,” Charles Cousar writes in Texts for Preaching Year A. Throughout the Gospel of Matthew, we watch and listen as Jesus reveals the hand of God at work in the world, undoing the damage that has been done by human sin, so this extraordinary birth “is the beginning of the fulfillment of God’s saving purposes. Cousar says; “The fresh, new act of God ushers in an age, long expected and hoped for, yet in a fashion so unusual that it could hardly be anticipated.” Once again, those promises of things we can scarcely imagine: peace, healing, reconciliation, salvation.

Psalm 80 New Living Translation

For the choir director: A psalm of Asaph, to be sung to the tune ¢â‚¬Å“Lilies of the Covenant.¢â‚¬

1 Please listen, O Shepherd of Israel,
you who lead Joseph¢â‚¬â„¢s descendants like a flock.
O God, enthroned above the cherubim,
display your radiant glory
2 to Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh.
Show us your mighty power.
Come to rescue us!
3 Turn us again to yourself, O God.
Make your face shine down upon us.
Only then will we be saved.
4 O Lord God of Heaven¢â‚¬â„¢s Armies,
how long will you be angry with our prayers?
5 You have fed us with sorrow
and made us drink tears by the bucketful.
6 You have made us the scorn[a] of neighboring nations.
Our enemies treat us as a joke.

7 Turn us again to yourself, O God of Heaven¢â‚¬â„¢s Armies.
Make your face shine down upon us.
Only then will we be saved.

17 Strengthen the man you love,
the son of your choice.
18 Then we will never abandon you again.
Revive us so we can call on your name once more.

19 Turn us again to yourself, O Lord God of Heaven¢â‚¬â„¢s Armies.
Make your face shine down upon us.
Only then will we be saved.

Prayer
Shepherd of Israel,
may Jesus, Emmanuel and son of Mary,
be more than just a dream in our hearts.
With the apostles, prophets, and saints,
save us, restore us,
and lead us in the way of grace and peace,
that we may bear your promise into the world. Amen.
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