With all the noise in the world, do you hear the voice of God? Your calendar tells you what to do, but do you remember who you are? Being comes before doing. This is a call to put first things first. Return to the Lord with this daily pattern of prayer and devotion. Set aside this time as a sanctuary. Find a space free of distraction and follow this pattern.
Make the sign of the cross, and say,
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
If you have an advent wreath, light the first candle and pray:
Jesus Christ is the Light of the world. The light no darkness can overcome.
Jesus, open our eyes to your light and our ears to your words of hope. Come, O long-expected Jesus. Our hope is in you. Amen.
Word: Matthew 1:20-21
While he was thinking about this, an angel of the Lord came to him in a dream. The angel said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. She is to become a mother by the Holy Spirit. A Son will be born to her. You will give Him the name Jesus because He will save His people from the punishment of their sins.”
The poet W.H. Auden once wrote, "Nothing that is possible can save us / We who must die demand a miracle." This is a bold statement, and one whose truth might not be self-evident in everyday life. Many of the daily problems we face can be fixed, or at least addressed: if our car breaks down, we can take it to the garage. If we get a headache, we can take some aspirin. If we say something mean, we can apologize, and so on.
Auden’s meaning becomes clearer when we consider problems of a less everyday nature, the kind that keep us up at night. The problems that are simply beyond us. The reality is our condition is not fixable. That is, we can empirically say that the solution to human nature has not been found in the realm of "what’s possible." Instead, we need a miracle to save us—from ourselves, from our sin, and, ultimately, from death.
It should come as no surprise that the birth of the one "who will save his people from their sins" was full of the impossible. Mary’s pregnancy is merely the first part. Equally miraculous is the fact that Joseph actually believes what the angel tells him here. And he not only believes—he obeys. These are miracles! To explain them away or downplay their importance is to deny the extent of the Good News.
Is there a situation in your life where nothing short of a miracle will help? An impossible problem that just won’t go away? This passage gives us permission to acknowledge that some problems are indeed too big for us. You are not imagining things—"we who must die demand a miracle." Yet the "glad tidings" are that Jesus is the miracle we have been waiting for, the one who saves us. The impossible problems of this life have found their impossible answer in him.
Prayer for the World
· For my city, state, and country.
· For leaders: mayor, governor, president, congress.
· For those who serve the public: police officers, firefighters, teachers, first responders, medical personnel.
· For the nations of the world, for world leaders.
· For good government, good schools, good business.
· For justice, especially for the oppressed: minorities, immigrants and refugees, orphans, widows, the very young or unborn, the aged.
· For creation: for the care of land, air, wildlife, and sea.
Heavenly Father, the condition and problems in my life require a miracle. Thank you for the miracle of the incarnation of your son Jesus. Continue to work the miracle of your salvation and redemption of the world each day. Amen!