December 18, 2020
by Steve Titus
Creighton University's Mission and Ministry
click here for photo and information about the writer

Wednesday of the Third Week of Advent
Lectionary: 194

Jeremiah 23:5-8
Psalms 72:1-2, 12-13, 18-19
Matthew 1:18-25

Praying Advent Home Page

Pope Francis: On St. Joseph in today's reading.

The Annunciation

Contemplating with Joseph

Advent for me has typically been a reflective season of anticipation.  This year feels different.  It is a reflective time, to be sure, but it feels more like a season of perspective than one of anticipation.  I don’t know about you, but 2020 caught me off guard.  In today’s Gospel, Joseph learns that Mary is pregnant.  I imagine Joseph was caught off guard when he learned this news.  From Joseph’s perspective, Mary must have been with another man.  When we are caught off guard, it is easy to lose perspective, to see things narrowly, and to be closed off to possibility or alternatives.  It is easy to become afraid when we feel confused, hurt, betrayed, angry or embarrassed. 

Perspective can help in these times.  Rainer Maria Rilke’s poem, “You are the future”, is one of my favorites with respect to perspective.  The final two lines of the poem reminds me that “…how you look depends on where you are:  from a boat you are shore, from the shore a boat.”  I don’t know if Joseph is the boat or the shore.  But we know that Joseph was awake, open and obedient to new perspectives.  In difficult times, Joseph widen his perspective to include hope and new possibilities by trusting that God was with him and with Mary.  Mary will bear a son through the Holy Spirit and they shall name him Emmanuel, meaning “God is with us.”  This is the best news I’ve heard all year.  Thanks, Joseph, for helping to widen my perspective and sense of gratitude for the gifts and graces of this year amidst the confusion, hurt, anger, and uncertainty.    

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