All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said.

When you watch a movie for the second time, you tend to pick up on details you missed at first. But you also risk losing any sense of surprise since you already know how it ends. Something similar might happen when you read today’s Gospel (Matthew 1:1-16, 18-23). As we celebrate Mary’s birth today, we already know how her story will end. But let’s delve into the details to imagine how Mary and Joseph must have felt as they learned about the special role God had for them.

Mary was “greatly troubled” and questioned the archangel about whether this was possible (Luke 1:29). When Joseph heard that she was pregnant, he decided to divorce her quietly (Matthew 1:19). Their actions hardly resound with confidence! All they could see were the scandalous risks involved with choosing to go forward. Joseph risked his reputation if he married a woman who carried somebody else’s child. Mary jeopardized not only her chance of a good marriage but her very life as well. Yet both said yes and did what God was asking of them.

If Joseph and Mary had been able to see how their choices would affect the world, would it have been easier for them to say yes to God? Probably. But that makes it all the more remarkable; they made their choices in the dark, without knowing how everything would turn out.

Think about all the times you have said yes to the Lord in your life without knowing how the story would end. In some situations, maybe you still followed him eagerly. But at other times, when you were in the “darkness” of suffering or loneliness or confusion, it may have been much harder.

Mary and Joseph were human, and like us, their understanding of what God would do through them was limited. But they went forward in trust, and God used them powerfully in his plan of salvation. In the same way, every time we say yes to God, we can trust that his plans for us are always bigger—and better—than our own.

“Lord, help me respond to you with the same trust that Mary and Joseph showed.”

Micah 5:1-4
Psalm 13:6
Matthew 1:1-16, 18-23


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