Fourth Sunday of Advent
“Joseph her husband was a righteous man…he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him.” Often overlooked in preparations for Christmas, Joseph is much more than a figure - he is a person. One thing that helps me to reflect on that are his hands, the worn hands of a carpenter. His were the hands that first held our Lord in the manger on Christmas; his were the arms that lifted Mary and Jesus onto the donkey in the flight to Egypt. His were the hands, folded in prayer, when the angel of the Lord appeared.
In today’s Gospel, we are presented with another dimension of Joseph. Imagine the scene with Joseph and Mary. After the angel appeared for the first time, there’d be fear and uncertainty in the air, from Joseph and even more from Mary. Before the angel arrived, Joseph had decided to quietly dismiss Mary. But he doesn’t - Joseph looks Mary in the eyes and commits to her, he’s not going anywhere.
A final aspect to reflect on, is the ordinary circumstances in which the extraordinary entered. This couple, newly betrothed, is touched by the hand of God - everything changes. But none of this could have been possible if this couple hadn’t been rooted in relationship with the Lord. Joseph wouldn’t have been able to receive the message from the Lord if he didn’t already know Him.
As we prepare in the final days of advent, may I encourage you to grow in relationship with Lord – to be receptive like the Holy family to the wonders He wants to work in your ordinary life.
O King of all nations and keystone of the Church:
come and save man, whom you formed from the dust!