This Advent, I have been amazed at the way God told His story to those who were willing to hear Him in dreams and visitations. Those with hearing eyes and seeing ears.
Yosef ben-Yaacov had always known God spoke in dreams to both His friends and to those who opposed Him. And then Yosef himself saw and heard with stunning clarity as he dreamed:
“An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:20-21).
Shame and pain had perhaps blanketed his days since Miriam had come to him to tell him she was with Child. The irrational explained his betrothed tangle’s of improbable words about her condition. Truth, blazing like the sun. The carpenter built his life, and Miriam’s, from obedience in daylight’s harsh glare of daylight to the mystery that had been spoken to him in a dream.
God-dreams directed Joseph’s steps at least three more times:
…Take the Child and flee to Egypt (Mt. 2:13). Leave your life to save the Child’s.
…It’s safe to return to Israel (Mt. 2:19-20). The Child needs to return home.
…Go live in Galilee (Mt. 2:22-23). Live and work and laugh and worship in this place. The Child will learn the pattern of obedience from no better instructor than you, Joseph.
We who look for certainty and confirmation in triplicate would do well to be apprenticed to Saint Yosef this Christmas season, day and night. He responded to mystery with obedience.
Sweet dreams to each one of you.