Dec 22 2019 Reflection
Sunday 22 December 2019
First Reading: IS 7:10-14
Let the Lord enter; he is king of glory.
PS 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
Second Reading: ROM 1:1-7
Gospel Reading: MT 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.
Ask for a sign from the Lord. (Isaiah 7:11)
Things were looking bad for King Ahaz of Jerusalem. He was barely holding back an attack from the armies of Aram and Samaria. The situation became so desperate that Ahaz decided to appeal to the king of Assyria for help. “I am your servant and your son,” he wrote. “Come up and rescue me” (2 Kings 16:7).
Hearing the news, the prophet Isaiah urged Ahaz to reconsider. He knew that bowing to Assyria would mean adopting the nation’s false idols and sinful traditions. “Ask for a sign from the Lord,” he begged the king (Isaiah 7:11). Let God help you.
But Ahaz refused. He didn’t want to risk God’s wrath by seeming to dare God to prove himself. Besides, he thought, God could not possibly be so good as to rescue him—especially not after all the ways Ahaz had disobeyed him in the past.
Like Ahaz, we too can fear that we have to deal with the challenges of life all on our own. But God is always giving us signs of his presence and his help. Some are subtle, like a beautiful sunrise, and others are more obvious, like the faithfulness of a friend. And then there’s the dramatic sign that Isaiah gave Ahaz: “The virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel” (Isaiah 7:14).
Emmanuel. God-with-us. A living, breathing sign of God’s love and protection. A personal, undeniable sign of God’s commitment to his people. A promise that he has seen our need and is ready to help if we turn to him.
At Mass today, you’ll be surrounded by signs: statues, a crucifix, an altar, and maybe a crèche. And of course, the greatest and most intimate of all signs: Jesus, present in the form of bread and wine. He is a sign you not only see but one you can taste and touch. He is the sign that redeems, heals, and restores. So don’t be like Ahaz. Welcome this sign. Take it into your heart and soul.
“Jesus, thank you for every sign that you will give me today.”