Gospel Meditation


“She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus.” Joseph heard these prophetic words in a dream. They were words of anticipation, of what was to come. And in a sense, they ushered in a kind of Advent for Joseph. With this divine message, Joseph began a period of holy waiting. He now knew that the Messiah was going to be coming into his own home, and he had just nine months to prepare! We can only imagine how Joseph might have spent these precious days. Most likely he did more than prepare a physical home for his soon-to-be-born Son; he must have also used these days to prepare his heart, mind, and soul for such a tremendous mission.

Today, we stand in a position not all that different from St. Joseph. We also know that the Messiah will be arriving–not just in remembrance at Christmastime, but in reality at the second coming. But unlike Joseph, we don’t have an exact timeframe. We don’t know when Jesus will return. We just know that we need to be ready!

During the season of Advent we are challenged to recall this fact and strive to get our hearts in order. The days are short now until Christmas, and for all we know they might be short until Christ’s return as well. What remains to be done? Aside from wrapping presents and planning parties, where do we yet need to tidy up our habits to properly celebrate the real meaning of this festive season? How can we make sure that we don’t get swept away in the external preparations, forgetting the work that needs to be done in the invisible silence of our souls?

God may not speak to all of us directly in our dreams, but he does speak to us clearly through his word. May we recognize today the mission he has laid before us.