Armodoxy for Today – Immanuel – Advent Journey
Birthing pains are a signal that new life is close at hand. We have been through this Advent season preparing ourselves for the arrival of Christmas and the message of the Christ Child. These last days of the Advent Season are the birthing pains in our spiritual journey. Christmas lies ahead. Jesus Christ, is about to enter into our lives, how do we greet this awesome event? Armodoxy demands that we interact with the Nativity message beyond a nod and a tip of the hat. We are called to celebrate Christmas in a manner that points to the reason of the season.
In Holy Scripture we find three narratives of the Nativity, in the Gospel of Matthew, Luke and John. Only St. Mark, the oldest of all the Gospels omits the Nativity narrative. It is the Evangelist St. Matthew who clearly expresses with the words, “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows,” and with that preface he gives the narrative, “After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.”
The birthing pains in our Advent Journey have now begun. We are at the point of no-return. We hear the message of the Gospel. He who is being born is the Savior. Immanuel, God with us, Creator, He who is without beginning and without end, in His Love for us is coming to be in our midst.
For Joseph, he had to deal with the social norms of the day which might have embarrassed him to take the Mary as his wife. For us, we deal with the social norms of today, which might betray us to the same kind of fear and embarrassment to proclaim an unwavering faith and commitment to the Christ Child that is coming. The message given to Joseph is now our message: Do not be afraid!
The first step to make your dream come true is to wake up, and Joseph did exactly that. He moved to action and named his dream-come-true, Jesus. Like Joseph, today we wake from our sleep and move to action. We proclaim the Child as Jesus and understand that our salvation is tied in with to this moment of singularity, when the virgin conceives, and a Son is born.
It is the birth of Jesus Christ, and we are here to honor him with the greatest gift that we can offer him, our love and commitment to his teachings.
Today we pray an intercessory prayer to St. Mary, the Holy Mother of God. O Asdvadzazin, today you bring to our world our Savior. Along with Joseph, you put fear aside and proclaimed the presence of God in our midst with the birth of Jesus Christ. Pray for us, at this moment that we may stand in awe of God’s infinite Love for us, that we may cast aside doubts and fears, and grow in faith for the blessings we are about to receive. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
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