Daily Reflection – Dec 18, 2016
Sunday 18 December 2016
First Reading: Isaiah 7:10-14
Let the Lord enter; he is king of glory
Second Reading: Romans 1:1-7
Gospel Reading: Matthew 1:18-24
Today’s Note: Fourth Sunday of Advent
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 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.
They shall name him Emmanuel, which means “God is with us.” (Matthew 1:23)
“Emmanuel.” You can imagine what that name must have meant to Joseph when he awoke from his dream.
First, it must have consoled him. The fact that God was with Mary and him in such a physical way must have been comforting, so much so that he became willing to take Mary as his wife.
Second, it must have given him courage. Humble tradesman that he was, Joseph probably felt unqualified to be the guardian of the Messiah. So the name Emmanuel probably felt like a shield against fear. It gave him the boldness he needed to guard and protect Mary and her child.
Lastly, the name Emmanuel must have filled him with joy. At last! The Messiah that Israel had long awaited! God had come to visit his people in a new and powerful way; he was going to save them from their sins. How could Joseph possibly contain his excitement? God had kept his promise. He was with them!
This dream changed Joseph’s outlook on the dilemma that he faced with his betrothal to Mary. Comforted, strengthened, and made joyful by the name Emmanuel, he could now say yes to God’s plan for his life and for the unique family he would lead.
This one name—Emmanuel—holds these three treasures for you as well. When you wake up each morning and start thinking about the challenges of the day ahead, remember that God is with you, like a friend you can spend each day with. He is your courage and strength when you feel unqualified to handle a particular situation. He is your joy, reminding you of the promise of heaven.
So hold on to Jesus, God-with-us. Look for signs of his presence in your life. Wrap yourself in his protection. Most of all, rejoice in it! God has sent his Son to you. You have a Savior who is always with you!
“Emmanuel, I step forth today rejoicing in your faithfulness and in the courage and freedom that you bring to my life.”