Wednesday of the Third Week of Advent
(Jeremiah 23:5-8; Matthew 1:18-25)
Everyone dreams. Not only that, but people have different kinds of dreams. At night a person’s dreams contain the overflow of emotions experienced during the day. If one was threatened during the day, the person may dream of being pursued by a ruffian. Dreams during the day envision the culmination of one’s hopes efforts. Martin Luther King dreamt of a nation which judges persons by their character, not skin color. Today’s gospel tells of another type of dream, rare but not unheard of in salvation history.
Joseph, the husband of Mary, is not the first dreamer with that name in the Bible. Joseph, the son of Judah, had dreams of his family submitting to his authority. These dreams revealed the future of Israel. The dream of Joseph in today’s gospel reaches even farther into the unknown. It tells of how Joseph’s wife will conceive a child through the Holy Spirit. The child will save people from their sins so that they may live holy lives. For this reason God will never leave His people. Thus the child, named Jesus, may also be called “God with us.” This dream is neither the overflow of emotion nor the high hopes of a people. It is God revealing His audacious plan to give humans everlasting life.
We should never separate Christmas from the Easter event. Jesus was born to suffer and die that sin and death might be overcome. There is plenty of reason for joy in Christmas. But there is also motivation to contemplate the ultimate purpose of Jesus’ birth.