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Maurice Timothy ReidyDecember 18, 2023
Photo from Unsplash.

A Reflection for Monday of the Third Week of Advent

Find today’s readings here.

“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.” (
Mt 1:20)

“Do not be afraid” are words that all Christians need to hear, but perhaps parents especially, and maybe first-time parents most of all.

Joseph was a first-time parent, as far as we know. In today’s Gospel, the angel of the Lord gives him the (good?) news. I can’t imagine what went through his mind—some excitement perhaps, but probably mostly anxiety. We know he obeyed the angel’s command. We don’t read about the sleepless nights that must have followed.

Joseph was also, like me, an adoptive father. Raising a son who was not his biological child was probably not what he imagined when he thought about raising a family. As the “son of David,” he probably took pride in his lineage. He probably wanted to “carry on his line.” But God had other plans.

There is so much pressure on young parents today—pressure to have a child at the so-called right time and in the so-called right way. Joseph felt the same pressure.

There is so much pressure on young parents today—pressure to have a child at the so-called right time and in the so-called right way. Joseph felt the same pressure. That’s why his initial instinct was to divorce Mary.

I wasn’t visited by an angel before I became a father. I got a phone call, and the next day I was on the way to pick up a car seat on the way to the hospital. I wasn’t sure what God’s plans were for me, and I’m still not sure. But I have the story of Joseph.

The savior of the world came into this world in the most unexpected of places and in the most unexpected of ways.

Do not be afraid.

More: Scripture

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