Psalms 72:1, 12-13, 18-19
Entering into the birth of Jesus
I have always been amazed at the birth story of Jesus. When I was a child the nativity scene with the animals gathered around the baby filled my thoughts. As I grew older, I wanted to be with the shepherds’ experiencing that unforgettable night. As I grow through different stages of life, I relate to different parts of the story. The birth of Jesus is a story filled with good and evil, poverty and riches, miracles and simplicity. It seems like the perfect story for all ages. Since I am a husband, the account of Jesus’ birth in today’s gospel reading grabs my imagination. This year I am keenly aware of Joseph’s role in the birth story.
Joseph, traditionally portrayed as the quiet partner, seems to have played a key role in the fulfillment of God’s plan. Would history have changed if Joseph did not follow the voice in his dreams and actually divorce Mary? The part that stands out is Joseph followed the urgings of the heavenly spirit and stepped into an unknown journey. I admire his devotion to Mary, courage to venture into the unknown, and trust in God.
Joseph’s role in the birth story makes me question how many times have I responded to the urgings of God’s spirit speaking to me. Not all of us have angels communicating to us in dreams, but we all can feel the movements of God’s spirit in our own lives. Maybe that is the point of this amazing story that has captured people’s imaginations throughout the centuries: that, “God is with us.” It isn’t the star’s guiding light or the kings bearing gifts or the poverty of a couple giving birth in a stable that is important. What is important in this story is the angel’s words about Jesus meaning, “God is with us.”
My prayer is that we interact with the world knowing that “God is
with us.” Throughout the joys, sorrows, and busyness of today we
communicate to all we encounter that “God is with us.” We will not
only diminish the doubts of God’s loving presence, but we will become players
in the ongoing birth of Jesus.
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