Behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus…” Matt. 1:20- 21a
During the Christmas season, consider Joseph. After the birth of the child Jesus, can you imagine Joseph working with wood while his mind wanders to the baby and his duty of helping him grow into a responsible young man? Maybe he even dreaded the difficulties of rearing a child in such a troubled world where there was political turmoil, economic inequality, and violence. Isn’t that the fear and concern of parents who are raising children today? What did Joseph think the angel meant by saying that “he will save his people from their sins”? What does that mean to you?
Consider Mary too. Required to travel to Bethlehem to register under unfavorable conditions, what did she sense and feel? We sometimes face journeys that we do not choose. The way isn’t clear. There are obstacles to overcome and decisions to make. We face times of fear and loneliness or times of doubt or spiritual dryness. At times like these, we can draw strength and confidence from the example of Mary and Joseph who experienced “God with us” in the Babe at Bethlehem.
This Homeless Child, fully human and fully divine, teaches us a faith of hope and humility, compassion and courage. He is the one who comforts us with the knowledge that we always have a companion on our journey. We are not alone. We need not fear.
We have been given the gift of Love incarnate, Emmanuel. Let us celebrate the great mystery of the Incarnation by wholeheartedly accepting the call to seek this God of love, to recognize our unique gifts and to share those gifts with others. May God bring you hope and peace this Christmas and in the New Year.