“God is with us.”

Matthew’s (1:18-25) rendering of the Christmas story is brief and focuses on Joseph.  Joseph finds out that his betrothed, Mary, is pregnant.  He decided to divorce her quietly so as not to put her to shame when an angel appears to him in a dream to tell him that she is with child by the Holy Spirit.  The child is to be called Jesus because He has come to save humanity.  Matthew adds that this fulfills a prophecy of Isaiah regarding a virgin bearing a child name Emmanuel, the meaning from which we get our headline.  Joseph then takes Mary into his home, with the author noting that Joseph did not have relations with Mary before the birth of Jesus.  How blessed was this holy couple to have the Lord in their midst, “God with us,” in Mary’s womb, the first tabernacle!  How blessed were Elizabeth, Zechariah, and John when Mary stayed with them for six months!  How blessed were the shepherds and Magi who did homage to Jesus in His infancy!  How blessed were Simeon and Anna when visited by the Holy Family in the temple!  And how blessed are we that we still have God with us in Jesus in Word and Eucharist!  We recall the words of Jesus’ fellow travelers to Him on that road: “Stay with us” (Lk 24:29).  And He has.  Let us never lock the doors to Christ through grave sin that closes off the life of grace.  Rather, as Pope John Paul exhorted, let us “Open wide the doors [of our hearts] to Christ!”  Amen, alleluia.

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