A reading from the gospel according to Matthew 1:18-23
18 Now 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.
19 Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly.
20 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.
21 She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:
23 Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means “God is with us.”
Reflection: Birth of Jesus
Good News: God is with us
Pointers for Reflection:
1) This gospel passage tells us that the birth of Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s promise in the Old Testament. God is indeed faithful. What He promises, He will fulfill.
God promised His people Israel that He will send a Messiah to save them. The Israelites put their hope in this promise and God did not disappoint them. Let us therefore put our hope in God because we believe He will never fail us.
2) Mary became the mother of Jesus because she accepted the offer of God with her whole heart disregarding the consequences of an unusual pregnancy. Together with Joseph, she raised Jesus to become the savior of the world.
Like Mary, we also allow ourselves to be used by God for the glory of His name and for the salvation of the world.
3) Joseph decided to divorce Mary quietly. Yet when the angel spoke to him in a dream, he changed his mind and accepted Mary and the baby in her womb into His home. Although Jesus was not his son by blood, He took good care of Him and His mother.
Like Joseph, may we learn to be alert for any message of God and to be obedient to His will. May we be able to change our plans and decisions in order o give way to what God has in store for us. In addition, may we emulate Joseph in taking care of others especially women and children.
4) Emmanuel means God is with us. Hence, If God is with us then we are all Emmanuel. If God is in our community then our community is Emmanuel. If Jesus is the greatest sign that God is with us, then each one of us and each Christian community should be a sign of God’s presence in the world. How wonderful it would be when people look at us and they see God’s presence!
5) The season of Christmas is around the corner. As they say, Jesus is the reason for the season. Let that sink in. Jesus is the real reason why we celebrate Christmas. In other words, Jesus should not be lost in our eating, drinking and partying. Instead of preparing expensive gifts or “presents”, may we prepare ourselves for God’s real presence so that we become truly godly and worthy of His love.
6) The name of the child is “Jesus”. It is a derivation of the Greek name Iesous which is in turn derived from the Hebrew name Yeshua/Y’shua/ Yehoshuah (adopted as Joshua in English). The Hebrew name means “Yahweh is salvation” or “The Lord saves.”