Today’s Gospel is about the dream Joseph has when an angel explains to him that Mary is pregnant by the Holy Spirit and is bearing the savior. As I was meditating on this story, I was thinking what a hard predicament both he and the Blessed Mother were in. Before his dream, Joseph could not understand why Mary had gotten pregnant, and Mary didn’t have the words to convince him how it had happened. They both needed God to break through this impossible situation with an act of grace.
This story is such a testament to how the Lord breaks through the messy situations in our lives. I have experienced time and time again how I will beat my head against a wall trying to deal with a problem, and the only solution has been to stop and ask the Lord to handle it. Whether it has been an ongoing argument in my marriage, the defiance of one of our teenagers, or the fatigue of pregnancy that makes it impossible to do my daily duties, I have come between a rock and a hard place where I felt defeated. I think the Lord allows these things because they make us cry out to him. We are then in a position to experience him breaking through. We don’t all, like Joseph, need to have a visit from an angel in our sleep, but we often need the Lord to visit us in one way, shape, or form. The gift of being able to reconcile with my husband, of seeing my teenager’s heart soften after attending a holy hour, of having a friend unexpectedly come and take the kids out so I can rest—all of these are instances of God breaking through the messiness of my life with his grace. Mary is our model of how we need to remember that, when the going gets tough, the tough wait for the Lord. As we enter into the Christmas season, let’s remember that Emmanuel came to be our God-with-us, our savior who makes a way where there was no way.