“This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about…the angel of the Lord appeared to him is a dream…”
This is how it happened folks…Joseph’s world is turned upside down – his bride to be is found with child – not his…
But not only his world, Mary’s world too. Unbelievable news! Paralyzing news! How did this happen? How is it even possible that this is happening? What am I supposed to do? Can you imagine what everyone else is going to think?
Haven’t we all found ourselves at some time or another, in such an overwhelming place – it doesn’t take much imagination for us to remember that we too have experienced the emotions and anxiety that Joseph must have felt.
How did we respond? Maybe we too, just wanted to numb ourselves, retreat, just sleep and forget about it – at least for a little while. We make a plan – I will divorce her quietly – then will sleep and when I wake up – I’ll feel better.
But Joseph had a dream – to trust, to protect, to love. I can only imagine that this dream was nearly as unbelievable as his situation. I have a plan – it will work – we can save face…but the message of the dream was trust – trust God for He is in this. The message was to lean in to the reality, protect Mary and the child, the message was to love.
Love is not always easy, it means we have to be willing to be vulnerable, we have to be willing to step out in faith, it takes courage to love. We too have dreams, God sends messengers to cross the threshold of our life experience (even when we are overwhelmed) to invite us to trust so that we too can lean into life and respond – to that we too can protect and love [Mary and child].
We never love alone – God invites and equips us to make present the love of Christ in our little corner of the world. What dreams or messengers has God blessed you with this Advent – how will you trust, protect and Love? This is how it happens folks….love emerges when life is turned upside down.
Faith Offman is the Associate Director of Ministry at St. Paul of the Cross Passionist Retreat and Conference Center in Detroit, Michigan.