Journey to Bethlehem Day 24
Tuesday, December 24 Matthew 1:18-25
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel”
(Which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.
St. Matthew underscores the prophetic character in which God-in-Jesus Christ was made manifest before the eyes of men. Awaking from his slumbers, St. Joseph immediately did as God’s messenger bade him do, and he did it without fear.
According to Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis, a contemporary exegete, Joseph gets it that there are fundamentally two races of men: "those who receive the grace of God when it is offered and become God's servants, and those who have chosen to ruin their lives—and the world around them—on the principle of closure to the divine".
What is our job today, armed with these thoughts?
Like Joseph, we are to eschew the superstitious notion that things informing our decisions are random and coincidental. God puts events and men on our path like it or not.
Like Joseph, first to make known among men the name of Jesus, we are to make that name known. If we never invite others to become acquainted with him, or better acquainted, can we really claim to be open to the divine?
Or is our reticence just here about masking that we really don’t care whether, at the last trump, he knows our name?
Grant, O Lord, that we might, like Joseph, be emboldened to fearlessly do thy will, and vouchsafe to give us those things which by own power we cannot obtain, even unto inviting others to seek membership into thine own family and a place at the table of Grace, Amen.