Advent Peace: Have Courage,God is With Us!

 

The birth of a child always presents its own challenges and anxieties for both parents. From medical and hospitalization costs, parents are responsible for the well-being of the child. But there is also great joy and anticipation in bringing up a child and in starting a family.

Today we look at the predicaments that the young couple, Joseph and Mary has to face even before Jesus comes into the picture. “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. Joseph, her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame decided to divorce her quietly. 

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 Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord has said through the prophet: Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means “God is with us.” When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home”(Matthew 1:18-24).  

It must have been a shock for Joseph to find out Mary was with child even before they lived together as husband and wife. However, Joseph took things patiently and was not quick to over-react by lashing out at Mary or blaming someone else. Rather, he prayed and took his intentions to God who explained to him that Mary was going to deliver Jesus who is the Saviour of the world. Joseph believed and had faith that God’s message was true despite all the doubts and in accepting the Child that was about to be born into the world.

On the other hand, Mary being the mother of Jesus must have been  distressed by the news too. Mary, not formally married to Joseph, faced potential rejection and condemnation if people found out as it was something out of the ordinary. Still Mary and Joseph trusted in God’s divine providence despite their fears and worries.

In the season of advent before Christmas, we are presented with this model of faith – Joseph as a faithful father and servant of God in his steadfast belief and Mary in her desire to bear and guide the Child, Jesus. In times of great distress and stress, are we open to accept God’s invitation of peace?

Just last week on a Sunday, I was in school for a workshop and it ended around 5.45pm. I could not make it for the 5pm mass so I had to attend the 7pm mass at St Mary of the Angels. While waiting for mass to begin, I went for adoration and to pray and just to sit silently in God’s presence. My thoughts flowed clearer in God’s Presence as I recounted the things that I am grateful for and things that I felt could be improved in my life. Sitting in silent contemplation helped me to reflect and re-focus. I noticed that there were many people in adoration, and it was a positive sign that people were connecting with God to experience His grace and comfort. The mass at 7pm was packed which is yet another positive sign that people were taking their faith seriously and ready to listen to the word of God.

I am glad that my to-do-list before Christmas is shrinking slowly so that I can look forward to a restful weekend. Jesus, give me the determination and strength to finish the remainder of my work so that I can focus on preparing for Christmas (cleaning my room, the house and helping my parents out). Also, thank you for protecting and guiding me during reservice that it went well. Praise the Lord for your strength and refuge!

Here is a poem,A Christmas Blessing which I wanted to share from the back pages of Church of the St Francis Xavier’s “Christmas 4 Everyone” booklet.

“God grant you the light of Christmas

which is joy;

the warmth of Christmas,

which is love;

the promise of Christmas,

which is peace;

the hope in Christmas’

which is faith;

the all of Christmas

which is Christ”

May we continue to keep everyone in prayers and always to pray specially for the city of Aleppo in Syria that the government can continue to evacuate its citizens in the war-torn district and that they will comforted by God through the hope of a new day which brings better news.

I would like to end this post with a song, “The Words I Would Say” by Sidewalk Prophets to take time and pray in communicating with God to deepen one’s relationship with him. May God be with Us!

“Three in the morning and I’m still awake
so I picked up a pen and a page.
And I started writing just what I’d say
if we were face to face

I’d tell you just what you mean to me
Tell you these simple truths

Be strong in the Lord and
never give up hope.
You’re gonna do great things
I already know
God’s got his hand on you so
don’t live life in fear
forgive and forget
but don’t forget why you’re here
Take your time and pray
These are the words I would say

Last time we spoke you said you were hurting
and I felt your pain in my heart
I want to tell you that I keep on praying
Love will find you where you are

I know ’cause I’ve already been there
So please hear these simple truths

Be strong in the Lord and
never give up hope.
You’re gonna do great things
I already know
God’s got his hand on you so
don’t live life in fear
forgive and forget
but don’t forget why you’re here
Take your time and pray
These are the words I would say

From one simple life to another
I will say
Come find peace in the Father

Be strong in the Lord and
never give up hope.
You’re gonna do great things
I already know
God’s got his hand on you so
don’t live life in fear
forgive and forget
but don’t forget why you’re here
Take your time and pray
Thank God for each day
His love will find a way
These are the words I would say”

Written By: Darren Chan Keng Leong

 

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