Illustration by Phil Younk
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Baesd on the Gospel of Matthew 1:18 – 24
A preview of the Christmas miracle! In this Sunday’s Gospel for the Fourth Sunday of Advent, we hear about Joseph, a just man who had faith and trust in God.

Joseph and Mary are engaged. But before the wedding he learns Mary is pregnant. Joseph, confused and disappointed, didn’t understand how this could be. In those days, the punishment for a woman who became pregnant before marriage was death by stoning. Yet, Joseph doesn’t seek revenge by publicly disgracing Mary. Instead, he decides to “quietly” call off the marriage so Mary won’t be punished.

Tired from worry and concern about the situation, Joseph falls asleep. In a dream, an angel appears to Joseph and tells him not to be afraid, to take Mary as his wife, because the child she is expecting is not from another man, but from God’s Holy Spirit. The angel says Mary will have a son and he is to be named Jesus, because “he will save people from their sins.”

Joseph awoke from his dream and did what the angel told him. He and Mary were married. Joseph had deep faith in God and was able to recognize what God wanted him to do from the message in his dream. Joseph loved his family. He protected and cared and provided for Mary and Jesus. It wasn’t always easy for them to do as God wanted; there were struggles and ups and downs. The Holy Family is a great example for every family.

During this last week of Advent, let us think about Joseph’s life of love, trust and faith. He put aside his own choices, put his trust in God and lived his faith. Joseph doesn’t speak in the Gospel; he simply follows through on what God asks him to do.

The Christmas miracle  – the Christ Child (God’s Son becoming man) – Emmanuel (“God is with us”).

The birth of Jesus guarantees us that through our struggles and ups and downs, he will always be with us to listen to us, to walk with us, and to encourage and help us.
We can’t ask for more than that.