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On this last Sunday of Advent, we are honored to share a special reflection from CMMB’s Board Chair, Sister Rosemary Moynihan, SC.

Sister Rosemary Moynihan is CMMB's first female board chair.Advent is a time to fast, to give and to pray…to set aside four weeks before Christmas to recall what our deepest soul knows beneath its fear of the dark…to know as author Gayle Boss relates, that there is One who is the source of all life, One who comes to be with us in all the good and darkness of life, One who brings a new beginning. Over the millennium this has been a time of great hope in the face of the unknown. It is a time of longing for light, for peace, healing, and wholeness.… for the coming of Emmanuel, God with us, in Jesus, Yahweh saves!

In today’s reading from Matthew, we hear of Joseph’s unique response to his encounter with God in a time of darkness. We find him called in a dream to accept his betrothed’s pregnancy as inspired by God, to take the child as his own, to name him. What must this have been like for Joseph? He had awaited his marriage with much joy. Now what? What would this mean for him and his family? Was Mary who she said she was? Was she faithful to him? Was this just a dream or a message from God? Joseph was a real person with hopes, doubts, and fears. He did not know it, but everything depended on his response.

In the darkness of the night, he was called to accept the unexpected.

With deep faith, Joseph had awaited the long-promised Messiah who would save his people—but this seemed a disaster! In the darkness of the night, he was called to accept the unexpected and unwanted. His world was turned upside down. Rigorous religious law required obedience. Being a just man, he needed to obey. Being faith-filled, he was challenged to open himself to God in a new way. What to do?

Like Mary’s, Joseph’s response to this revelation in the darkness changed everything. He chose to respect the law and to act in faith. With courage and an open and generous heart, he chose to see God in this personal darkness. He saw God in the possibilities confronting him, welcomed an unknown baby into his care, and embraced Mary with profound, generous compassion. He put his expectations aside and responded to a new face of God. This conscious choice helped to bring forth the Christ, the Light for whom the world longed.

This conscious choice helped to bring forth the Christ, the Light for whom the world longed.

We, too, have dreams and expectations. We, too, meet God in expected as well as in confusing and discomforting guises, in loved ones as well as in disappointing situations, in struggling teens, in family disputes, in difficult decisions, at hope-filled times of worship, in the homeless, in the supermarket staff, in facing the unknown, and more. Joseph opened his heart to those in front of him. He was just, and more—he was open, kind, and compassionate in his faith.

Let us learn from Joseph who chose God in the darkness; a choice that changed the world. Our choices, too, are needed to bring about the loving reign of God. Happy Advent! Amen.

—Sister Rosemary Moynihan

May you find hope, faith, joy, and peace this Christmas and always.

Your CMMB Family

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