“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.’” – Mt. 1:20

Today’s Gospel reading reminds me of the Woody Allen quote, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.” I would imagine that Joseph was all but laughing though when he experienced this dream with the angel visitor. How much faith and trust he must have had to first intend to marry Mary, then consider divorcing her, and without tangible proof trust a message.

I am fascinated both by Joseph’s response as well as God’s ways. Joseph from his perspective had clear reason to believe that Mary had relations with another man and therefore proceeded with intending to leave accordingly. Yet he also trusted that there was a power at work far beyond his own self and stayed close to this – God with him – all along the way. God amazingly breaks through our limited views and understanding, and creates a new, more expansive reality.

More and more I have seen this happening in my own life through situations that in my thoughts do not look like they will pan out, then surprisingly turn or open up new pathways that I never saw coming. Instead of telling the story I want to tell about my life or even figure out what that story is, it has become more of a listening for what is the story that wants to be told. I am inspired by Joseph’s choosing to remain open-hearted through his journey with Mary, and it reminds me to do the same especially through this Advent season. That is, choosing to acknowledge Emmanuel – God is truly with us.

In what ways might I be invited to be open-hearted at this time?

Where in my life might another perspective be waiting to be revealed?

St. Joseph, please help me to faithfully trust even if it doesn’t necessarily make sense right now.

Quyen (Nhi) Ngo