Advent Day 21 – Good News for December 18

18 12 2010

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.

The Daily Path: I’ve come to realize that the good sisters failed to convey the entire story of Joseph. Perhaps the questions about Joseph’s dilemma would have been a little too edgy for the nuns to discuss during our religion classes back in the 60’s. LOL I can understand why.

Can you imagine the headlines that would be generated by the media if celebrity M&J faced such an issue today?

MARY PREGNANT OUT OF WEDLOCK

Joe Outraged – Dumps “Virgin” Fiance

Mary’s Wild Miami Night With Kardashians Leads to Baby

WHO’S THE FATHER??

Joseph had quite a decision to make, as we all do facing many dilemmas in our own modern lives. Will we have the courage to do the right thing? Will we engage in grace when the angels come knocking? Don’t expect a winged being to appear – but do look inside and listen. The answers are there if we look beyond ME (ego).





Dreaming – Good News for March 19

19 03 2010

Matthew 1:16, 18-21

Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Of her was born Jesus who is called the Christ.

Now 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.”

When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home.

The Daily Path: When Joseph went to sleep on the night he was visited by the angel in a dream, I suspect his mind was full of anxiety over the discovery that his new wife was pregnant. Have you ever put your head to the pillow while worried or angry about something? I’m sure we all even. On a more positive note, have you ever framed a question clearly in your mind just before falling asleep? The latter is a technique I have often used to successfully come up with an answer or a creative solution.

I’m not a neurophysiologist, so I can’t tell you why my brain develops answers during sleep mode. In fact, I don’t care to know why for fear it will disable my little secret method. All I care about is the fact that answers often come in my sleep. The same is true for relief of anxiety. Have you ever had the experience of waking up worry free in a very peaceful state, only to have awareness of your troubles creep back into your conscious? “Damn, I was only dreaming.” Obviously some spiritual nurturing is going on before my human doubt returns. Dr. Wayne Dyer and others have suggested that the moments following sleep are when we are closest to our source (God). I would not disagree based on my own experience.

Are sleep and dreams a mechanism through which the Spirit engages with us? I don’t doubt it. In some ways that goes along with another concept I’ve read that suggests grace already exists within us and is activated at certain times. Again, I don’t want to fall into rationalizing, but I find it interesting how sleep and dreams can return me to a more peaceful state in which “true” answers become accessible. Hmm… perhaps the angels of the Lord are neurons! Oops, there I go again.





Taking Flight – Good News for December 28

28 12 2009

Matthew 2:13-18

When the magi had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.”

Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt. He stayed there until the death of Herod, that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled, Out of Egypt I called my son.

When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the magi, he became furious. He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had ascertained from the magi. Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah the prophet:

A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation; Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be consoled, since they were no more.





Glory to God – Good News for December 25

25 12 2009

Luke 2:1-14

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town. And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.

While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear. The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”

And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying:

“Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”





Modern Magi – Good News for December 18

18 12 2009

Matthew 1:18-25

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 be with child 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. He had no relations with her until she bore a son, and he named him Jesus.

The Daily Path: I’d like to share an excerpt from the closing paragraph of O. Henry’s classic short story, The Gift of the Magi…

The magi, as you know, were wise men–wonderfully wise men–who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these were the wisest. O all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi.

Over the past week, the three magi visited me. They came unannounced and completely unexpected. Each arrived at a different time. Each bearing gifts and acts of unbelievable kindness towards me. Two of these magi were made known to me. The third arrived mysteriously, as if in the night, keeping their identity hidden from sight. Just as the original wise men were inspired by God to visit, so too were these modern magi.

I cannot describe these gifts to you, for any attempt to do so couldn’t begin to illuminate their true value. Let me just repeat that I’ve been given the amazing gift of God’s abundance. He continues to provide what is needed when all human logic would point me towards despair. I feel like Jimmy Stewart’s character, Harry Bailey, from the Frank Capra film It’s A Wonderful Life. Like Harry, I’ve been taken down a rocky path. But through these times I’ve been given a great gift to see things now that I could never fully appreciate before. There is a God who loves me and, no matter how often I stumble, is always there to pick me up. I have a family that provides endless joy. And, I have friends, many friends, who, when I need them most… well… they are wisest… they are the magi.

Wherever you are, and in one case whoever you are… thank you.

Room to Chat: For he shall rescue the poor when he cries out, and the afflicted when he has no one to help him. He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor; the lives of the poor he shall save. Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous deeds. Wondrous deeds, indeed! Friends, do not be afraid.