Another Advent Season is nearly concluded. Catholics and other Christians around the word have been waiting and watching for Christ to come. Indeed, not only waiting, but also preparing our hearts and homes for his arrival.
In the gospel for the Fourth Sunday of Advent (Year A), we hear the angel of the Lord tell Joseph to not be afraid to take Mary, his betrothed wife, into his home.
“‘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” (Matthew 1:18-24).
What an incredible message the angel had for Joseph!
First, the message was reassuring and consoling. Joseph deeply loved Mary, so before the angel spoke to him, Joseph must have been greatly hurt when he first learned that Mary was with child. So the angel brought peace — the love of Joseph and Mary was holy and pure; love did not fail.
But on the other hand, the message brought a heavy responsibility to Joseph and a drastic change in his plans. The question for Joseph was not only if he would make room in his house for Mary and her baby — the question really asked whether God’s place in Joseph’s heart was spacious enough for all that God desired to give to Joseph. As it turned out, Joseph showed great wisdom, understanding, faith and courage — he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded. Just like Mary’s fiat, Joseph’s yes changed not just the direction of his life, it changed the direction of the whole world.
Truth be told, we are faced with that same question as we approach the coming Christmas celebration. God has great plans for you. Those plans may differ greatly from the direction you have chosen for your life. If you trust God and surrender fully to Him, your life will certainly be changed, and quite possibly, the direction of the whole world. Do you have room in your heart?
Holy Mary and Joseph, help me more fully say yes to your Son.
Into the deep…
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Into the Deep by Deacon Mike Bickerstaff is a regular feature of the The Integrated Catholic Life™ and usually appears on Sundays.
Deacon Mike Bickerstaff is the Editor in chief and co-founder of the The Integrated Catholic Life™. A Catholic Deacon of the Roman Rite for the Archdiocese of Atlanta, Deacon Bickerstaff is assigned to St. Peter Chanel Catholic Church where he is the Director of Adult Education and Evangelization. He is a co-founder of the successful annual Atlanta Catholic Business Conference; the Chaplain of the Atlanta Chapter of the Woodstock Theological Center’s Business Conference; and Chaplains to the St. Peter Chanel Business Association and co-founder of the Marriages Are Covenants Ministry, both of which serve as models for similar parish-based ministries.
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