December 18, 2022: Third Sunday of Advent
Gospel: Matthew 1:18-24
This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “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. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means “God is with us.” When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home.
You’re watching a movie. Our hero is about to do something seemingly ordinary – open a door, say, or check the basement to see what’s making that strange clunking noise. You know this action will alter the story in a major way. I’ve got to say, this week’s Gospel gives me that same feeling of needing to watch what enfolds through my fingers. The whole fate of humankind rests on Joseph heeding his dream. He could have done the “ordinary” thing and break his engagement. Imagine the outcome! Dreams in the Bible hold special significance; they are direct communications from God. Joseph chooses to listen. How does God speak to you? Are you listening? Or are you too busy worrying about that clunking noise in the basement?
Have you ever thought about keeping a dream journal? Writing down your dreams not only improves memory, it helps you understand your emotions, worries, and hopes, and problem-solve solutions. And it’s easy! In a notebook, jot down your dreams first thing in the morning (so you don’t forget them). Pay attention to details, colors, figures and how they made you feel. Or, if you’d rather, draw your dream. Then look for patterns: What turns up again and again? What do you suppose this indicates? Are you trying to untangle a particular problem? What can you do in your waking life to change your dreams?