Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly.
But just when he had resolved to do 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 as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.” When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
Three teenagers were climbing Mt. Hood. When a massive blizzard struck, they made a snow cave to wait it out. For two weeks they huddled in the cave. Their only comfort was a pocket Bible, which they took turns reading aloud. Finally, on the 16th day, when they were low on food and hope, the weather broke. They crawled out of the cave, barely able to stand. Looking down the mountain, they saw a joyous sight: a rescue team.
The situation of the teenagers, waiting and hoping, gives us an insight into the situation of believing Jews before Jesus’ birth. They, too, were low on faith and hope.
What keeps me going when I am low on faith and hope and tempted to quit?
Prayer infuses the weak with strength and the fainthearted with courage.
—Excerpted from Action, by Fr. Mark Link, S.J. ©2000 RCL Enterprises, Inc., Allen TX. For more prayer resources from Fr. Link, please visit www.staygreat.com
Lord, we have much to learn from your earthly father, Joseph. All his hopes of marriage to Mary appear shattered. Disillusioned by the appearance of Mary’s infidelity, Joseph, nonetheless, is thoughtful of her reputation and chooses to preserve her dignity. When God clarifies the truth to Joseph, he surrenders his plans and embraces his new calling.
Lord, we seek to be like Joseph. Strengthen our resolve to be honorable; increase our trust that you will guide us through confusion and disappointment. And help us to release our fixed grip on our plans if you ask us to follow you in ways we could never have imagined.
—The Jesuit Prayer Team