Matthew 1:18-25 starts out with the word Now. We’re in present tense. “Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah ….” it shifts in the next phrase “took place in this way”. But there’s a sense of immediacy in that phrase to me…. “in this way”. Now, in this way, the birth is happening….”
I like when a passage I am trying to learn by heart has built-in cues — in this case time:
But just when…
All this took place…
When Joseph awoke…
The bones of this story’s structure are built with words of time. And sort of dreamlike time — back and forth from now to what was to what shall be.
Its rather mystical, yes? It makes me think of the Christian mystic Meister Eckhart and a couple of his quotes.
“There exists only the present instant… a Now which always and without end is itself new. There is no yesterday nor any tomorrow, but only Now, as it was a thousand years ago and as it will be a thousand years hence.”
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/m/meister_eckhart.html
“Here in time we are celebrating the eternal birth which God the Father bore and unceasingly bears in eternity, because this same birth is now born in time, in human nature.” http://www.eckhartsociety.org/eckhart/his-teachings
and my favorite:
“Meister Eckhart once said: ‘What good is it that Christ was born 2,000 years ago if he is not born now in your heart?’
“Lord, we do far too much celebrating your actual coming in our hearts. I believe in God, but do I believe in God-in-me? I believe in God in heaven, but do I believe in God-on-earth? I believe in God out there, but do I believe in God-with-us?
“Lord, be born in my heart. Come alive in me this Christmas! Amen.”