Advent Reflection for 22 December 2013
Fourth Sunday in Advent
"But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, 'Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.'" -- Matthew 1:18-25
An important lesson that I find in this text, especially in the Gospel of Matthew that tells us about Jesus Christ's origins, is that not everything is guaranteed via God's divine plans. Freedom and human will are also involved. God is always ready to surprise us, to let the best of our inner self shine. God always has the right solution and the right path to make things the way they are supposed to be.
This same situation can be found if we review the whole salvation history, starting in Genesis and going through each key moment that had an impact in the lives of men and women in the Biblical story. It seems like God's plans are always moving on a razor's edge.
When we review, we would realize there's always a common denominator. In God's plan, dialogue is always necessary. Now we witness the dialogue of the angel with Joseph in a dream. God is always adding projects to God's creatures. I think most of us have experienced this in different personal or community situations.
Without too much looking, we all go through nights of doubts as Joseph did. Sometimes, we put many obstacles and conditions on the work of God. At other times, we try to correct the way God acts. On other occasions, we allow ourselves to be seduced by things that do not add much to our lives. We must have the courage to "let God be God" and take care of ourselves through being fully human and devoting our strength and will to God's divine plan.
I have always been struck by the silence of Joseph, his limited presence in the Gospels, but in this passage his importance is highlighted, even in his doubt, to take Mary as his wife, accepting to be Jesus' earthly father, and taking on the responsibility of naming him.
Mary, who is barely named in the text, together with Joseph remind us, with their attitude of faith and openness to God's plan, that we can also be a blessing in the life of all humanity.
We as MCC have also received a very important task. We have a divine plan in our hands, that will bless and bring the good news to many. It has to be our own decision, personally and as a community, to accept this mission, seriously and with joy.
Many lives will be touched by our response, even in the middle of the night of doubts. We can contribute much, even with our silent and committed prayer for this to be a more humane and egalitarian world.
In these last days of Advent, we need to decide if we really want to do a review of our personal and community life, about how we are preparing to live the commemoration of the birth of Jesus. We need to stand firm and not fall into the temptation of the holiday season, identifying this time only as an excuse for consumerism.
The question we should ask ourselves is this: Am I going to be spending this Christmas time living in solidarity with the Divine plan?
Rev. Elder Hector Gutierrez