4th Sunday of Advent by Sister Anne

Joseph“We sing your wonders, Lord,

We sing your wonders, Lord.

For love shines out in all you do, 

We sing your wonders, Lord.”


Today we begin this very short fourth week of Advent which culminates on Wednesday, the Feast of the Incarnation of Christ, that we call ‘Christmas’.

We experience our God “doing a new thing” (Isaiah 43:19) once more. The glimpses of God and God’s incarnate Son almost feel tangible.  Stephen Doughty points to the shepherds and wise men —  watchers, the anawim and the educated who were attentive to voices and stars.  This was creation’s way of pointing to the inclusivity of God’ dream for us.  We know the story well  — angels  speaking and stars pointing to– the human translation of God, Jesus, who would  one day  be called the Christ.  But the attentiveness comes only in the silence and the making of space for what God has in mind, God’s preference in their lives.

However, first we need to quiet ourselves and listen to the decision that Joseph makes with excruciating pain —  to divorce Mary quietly.  His Jewish upbringing with the law and the pull of his heart are, perhaps, significant for each of us who have had to make the heart wrenching decisions in our personal lives.  And then an angel comes in a dream and reveals God’s plan to Joseph… “Do not be afraid to take 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.”  (Matthew 1) 

Joseph’s initial discernment was very real and very painful.  But more importantly, his attentiveness to the message given to him by God through an angel was peace-filled and life giving.  This Gospel will always be a wonderful paradigm of discernment for me:  being still, being attentive, listening and looking for that glimpse of God.

 Come, let us be one with Joseph singing in our hearts…


We sing your wonders, Lord.

For love shines out in all you do, 

We sing your wonders, Lord.”

Anne Stedman, OSB



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