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Wondering and Trusting

First Reading: Isaiah 7:10-14

The LORD spoke to Ahaz, saying:
Ask for a sign from the LORD, your God;
let it be deep as the netherworld, or high as the sky!
But Ahaz answered,
“I will not ask! I will not tempt the LORD!”
Then Isaiah said:
Listen, O house of David!
Is it not enough for you to weary people,
must you also weary my God?
Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign:
the virgin shall conceive, and bear a son,
and shall name him Emmanuel.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6

R. (7c and 10b) Let the Lord enter; he is king of glory.
The LORD’s are the earth and its fullness;
the world and those who dwell in it.
For he founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the rivers.
R. Let the Lord enter; he is king of glory.
Who can ascend the mountain of the LORD?
or who may stand in his holy place?
One whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean,
who desires not what is vain.
R. Let the Lord enter; he is king of glory.
He shall receive a blessing from the LORD,
a reward from God his savior.
Such is the race that seeks for him,
that seeks the face of the God of Jacob.
R. Let the Lord enter; he is king of glory.

Second Reading: Romans 1:1-7

Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus,
called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God,
which he promised previously through his prophets in the holy Scriptures,
the gospel about his Son, descended from David according to the flesh,
but established as Son of God in power
according to the Spirit of holiness
through resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Through him we have received the grace of apostleship,
to bring about the obedience of faith,
for the sake of his name, among all the Gentiles,
among whom are you also, who are called to belong to Jesus Christ;
to all the beloved of God in Rome, called to be holy.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ.

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.

NAB

dec18

My kids were still awake past 9pm, dishes piled high in the kitchen (because our dishwasher was broken), a gaping hole had been cut in our dining room wall because water had been leaking from pipes, and the playroom was a mess because bookshelves and papers were moved away from the wet wall and hole. Not to mention sickness and deadlines and—you get the idea. I couldn’t (and still don’t) see God’s almighty plan and will in the mess. It all felt so broken (literally) and messy (24/7) and loud. I sought peace, quiet, stillness, and any sign that the end of the crazy was in sight.

I wonder how the Blessed Virgin Mary felt when, after the unexpected and slightly complicated matter of becoming pregnant, she and Joseph had to leave town for the census. I wonder if she asked God, “Why?! Why now, when I’m nearly ready to bear Your Son? Why? How does this work out in the end?” Did she feel like she was always waiting to see how all the moments worked together to fulfill God’s promise? I wonder how Saint Joseph felt, as a faithful Jew, to hear the news from his betrothed. And what did he think when the Angel appeared to him as well? Did he ever raise his hands up to God, seeking clarity and peace? Did he wonder how the plan would work?

I look at my life, and I ask God “Why?” and I look around at the world and wonder how God is working through these events and people. I want the answers, I want the puzzle pieces fitted together, I want the end-picture—now. Maybe this is your struggle this Advent, wanting to know how your job will unfold, that relationship will end up, or if you will ever feel completely at peace with your path.

And then I read one line in today’s Gospel, “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said. . . ,” and I hear the Holy Spirit telling me to “keep calm and trust.” Trust, as the Israelites did in their waiting for so many long years. Trust, as Saint Joseph did even when the plan meant inconvenient and uncertain changes in his life. Trust, as the Blessed Virgin Mary trusted perfectly and completely and saw God’s promises brought to life. The Holy Spirit whispers a timeless promise, that the Lord has and will work through all the loud and crazy things (yes, and the beautiful things) to fulfill His promise. He has done so already, He is doing so constantly, and by His grace, I will be able to look back upon my life to see how it worked out.

O come, o come, Emmanuel. I trust in you.

Gina Fensterer is a wife, daughter, mother, friend, homeschooling mama and Colorado native. You can find out more about her here.

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