20 Dec 4th Sunday of Advent
4th Sunday of Advent – A19
Dear friends in Christ,
Matthew’s gospel is very fitting for Advent. It begins with a promise: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God-with- us.”
Fr. Hebert F. Smith, a Scripture commentator noted that the whole Bible seems to point out a general religious principle: “When God comes into our lives, we have trouble.” This was what happened to King Ahaz. At one point in his reign Ahaz had to make a decision either to ally himself with Israel and Syria or with Assyria. God sent Isaiah to tell the king: “Ally yourself to neither side; rather, rely on God’s promise.” Tormented by the prophet’s words, yet Ahaz failed to go with God.
This also was what happened to Joseph and Mary. Matthew told us, “Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together she was found with Child. Joseph was deeply tormented by this but he was told by the angel in a dream, ‘Joseph, 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.’ Joseph woke up and did as the angel had commanded.” At the same time Mary was equally in anguish because she had to keep silence regarding the sacred of the angel’s Annunciation. Fr. Hebert Smith concluded that what happened to Joseph, Mary, and all those who took part in the Mystery of God led to a second religious principle: “When we have trouble, God comes.”
Certainly, we all have experienced these religious principles in our own lives, they are principles of Christian Hope. In spite of sin and failure from our part God will always be our Emmanuel. The Little Baby lying in the manger is God’s Gift to the world in trouble. Christmas reminds us that life is different because of Jesus.
May you have a Blessed Christmas!