The Gospel reading for the fourth Sunday of Advent focuses on Joseph and his response to God’s invitation for him and his family. Joseph had made the decision that he would divorce Mary quietly so as not to expose her to shame. A decision, he felt, was respectful of Mary and their situation, however, God invited them to experience a different plan. Through Joseph’s faith and trust in God, he was able to respond with courage and an open heart to God’s invitation which did not promise to be easy. How many of us can relate to those experiences in our own lives where we felt the plan we had for our lives was the “right thing” for us at that time and then come to find God had another, even better plan for us?
I can think of multiple experiences in my own life where I found that when I truly felt I was responding to God’s plan for me I began questioning why it was so challenging. Wondering where God was in the midst of those struggles. Several years ago I came across this quote, “Faith makes things possible, not easy” and it has become my life’s mantra because it is so true. I found that often times the path God invites us to does not promise to be easy, yet it is through the challenges and uncertainty that growth and new life is possible. We are invited to move beyond our comfort zones and experience something new. Reflecting on the life of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph deepens my trust in God. They were faced with great challenges and suffering, yet remained faithful and in the end new life was able to be born. As it says in today’s Gospel from Matthew, “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.”
How can you open yourself to the mystery of God working in your life?