Thursday, December 13, 2012

December 13, 2012

Today's text 

This is how Jesus Christ came to be born. His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph; but before they
came to live together she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being an upright man and wanting to spare her disgrace, decided to divorce her informally. He had made up his mind to do this when suddenly the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, 'Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because she has conceived what is in her by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son and you must name him Jesus, because he is the one who is to save his people from their sins.' Now all this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken through the prophet: Look! The virgin is with child and will give birth to a son whom they will call Immanuel, a name which means 'God-is-with-us'
(Matthew 1:18-24).


Do not fear. What you need will come, and you will know I am with you and always will be. I am
Immanuel. I will come to save you in all your perils.

We have no way of knowing what ran through Joseph’s mind as he walked Mary to Bethlehem. But I
hope words like these echoed in his depths as he made his way into an unknowable future.

Joseph is a lonely figure. He never speaks in Scripture. We never hear his voice or learn what is in his
heart. Tradition suggests he was older than Mary, so much older that he may never have seen Jesus into

He never gets much attention, even at Christmas.

With Mary at his side, he trekked over hills and through rocky valleys searching for places to rest and
sleep, to eat and find the warmth of hospitality on the way to Bethlehem. Long hours of heavy silence
hung between the two travelers, leaving Joseph too much alone with his thoughts:

“Can it be? Is this a child of God’s own spirit? Was the angel’s message real or a foolish stretch of my
imagination because I need to believe Mary is true?

What will come next? How will it end? Can anything good come of this?”

And who could Joseph tell about his dream? Who would believe him or think him sane?”

Joseph is silent, alone with his thoughts. But he isn’t, of course.

Many travel this road. They live with haunting questions and fret over sick or troubled children. They
doubt their judgment about decisions made and others yet to come. They wonder what will happen next to
their families and lose sleep trying to find ways to fix their troubles.

Joseph’s sole comfort came from words in a dream to which he clung: “Do not fear. I am sending you
Immanuel, God with us. Wait. Trust. Watch.

Immanuel will come, and you will know you are not alone and never will be.

For prayer & reflection

• What thoughts, feelings and memories were stirred by today’s reflection?
• What questions plague you and make you wonder whether God is with you?
• When have you experienced Immanuel, God with us?
• What does the promise of Immanuel mean to you this year?

Another voice

God of Adam, God of Joseph, God of sowing, soil and seed. Thank you for your world of promise: Milk
and honey, wine and bread. Thank you for all men entrusted with the charge of fatherhood, and for those
who have no children, yet are parents under God.
(“God of Adam, God of Joseph,” Fred Kaan, 1989)

No comments: