“This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about” (Matt 18:1).
Matthew’s account of the mysterious conception of Jesus is also a parallel, fulfillment story that ties back to the story of another Joseph, son of Jacob, who was also guided by dreams. That Joseph, who wore the many-colored coat and, out of jealousy, was sold by his brothers into slavery, ended up in Egypt. As provost of Pharaoh, he saved Israel from famine. Joseph of Nazareth, a just man, fulfills his mission as husband of Mary and guardian of the Holy Family when they flee to Egypt, an ancient story fulfilled so Matthew can later declare of Jesus, the new Moses: “I called my son up out of Egypt."
The seamless narrative of angels, dreams and journeys is all about Jesus Christ, God’s anointed One, Son of God. This is how he came about, how he came into the world, in the flesh and of the Holy Spirit. Jesus is the perfect union of divinity and humanity. The Incarnation is how the estrangement between God and us caused by sin is healed. Christmas celebrates Jesus, whose name means “savior.” Humanity apart from God will starve to death. Joseph makes possible the Bread of Life for Israel, our own communion with God and one another.
The deep richness of the liturgy places us within this mystery and invites us to believe—to participate fully in the gift God is offering us in Jesus. The measure of our response is the measure of our hunger for God. Advent is our time of fasting before the feast, our chance to sharpen our appetite for the one thing that will fully satisfy us. God is offering us Life. The story is our story, the dream is for us. Now is the time, like Joseph, to say yes.