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Vivian CabreraDecember 18, 2020
Anton Raphael Mengs: The Dream of St. Joseph (Public Domain)

A Reflection for the Third Friday of Advent

Like most things in 2020, this will be an Advent unlike any other. But each day, you can still take a few minutes to reflect on the coming of our savior at Christmas with short reflections on Scripture, written by the staff of America Media.

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A reading from the Gospel of Matthew

Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph,* but before they lived together, 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 be with child 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. He had no relations with her until she bore a son, and he named him Jesus.

Reflection

Do you ever wish an angel of the Lord would speak to you in your dreams and tell you what to do? Maybe it’s just my anxious brain that is incapable of making decisions. Should I go back to school? Should I get another tattoo? What will I have for lunch? Let me take a quick nap and then maybe I’ll know.

Alas, life doesn’t work that way.

We have to decide. No one is going to tell us what to do. What do we make of this story then? Chances are, angels aren’t going to be showing up in our dreams with instructions from the Lord (probably.) I wonder if Joseph felt a great desire to be near Jesus, the son of God, and maybe that desire was confirmation that he could trust his experience.

The more we get to know God, the more we learn to trust ourselves.

This, I imagine, is the same desire we feel when we really get to know God, when we spend time with him and his creation, whether in prayer or with the people right in front of us. Our hearts draw us closer to our creator who is always with us. Emmanuel. That is what our hearts were made to do.

The more we get to know God, the more we learn to trust ourselves.

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