Gospel Reading and Thoughts for December 22, 2013

Gospel – Matthew 1:18-24

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.
When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph,
but before they lived together, advent week 4
she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man,
yet unwilling to expose her to shame,
decided to divorce her quietly.
Such was his intention when, 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,
because he will save his people from their sins.”
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:
Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel,

which means “God is with us.”
When Joseph awoke,
he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him
and took his wife into his home.


All Advent long, we have been told to prepare the way and make straight the path.  Can you imagine actually making a winding, twisting path straight?  I think that it would involve hacking down branches and brush, clearing out rocks, flattening bumps in the road.  It doesn’t sound easy – does it?  Now imagine making straight the path in your heart – cutting down sins that block your vision of God, pulling out bad habits that keep us from holiness, and filling in empty parts in our lives with the love of God.

Joseph was able to make that path straight – even though his vision of God was a bit obscured, he took a leap of faith taking Mary as his wife.  He trusted the angel’s word, believing that what God had foretold would come to be.

So must we sometimes follow God without seeing the ending clearly.  We must grab hold of his hand and hang on tight, knowing that what he has planned is better than anything we can imagine for ourselves.

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