During Advent, we remember and prepare for the coming of Christ in three ways: firstly, we remember the generations who awaited the birth of Messiah, recorded in the prophecy and longing of the Old Testament. Secondly, we prepare our own hearts for dawning of Christ’s light in new and deeper ways, and thirdly, we look to Christ’s return. Again, advent is a time to be “present to our longing and vulnerable to hope” (Gertrude Mueller Nelson). For personal meditation on that theme, see the Contemplative at Home bonus episode “Advent Meditation: Longing and Hope” In this passage we meet Joseph, heavy and burdened by a difficult decision in painful circumstances. Just as he decides to back away quietly, from deep in his sleep an angel of the Lord encourages him instead to step forward into trust, into light, into his important role of the coming of Emmanuel. Matthew 1:18-25 Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.’ All this took place to fulfil what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: ‘Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel’, which means, ‘God is with us.’ When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus. If you wish to engage further with this text, I recommend this meditation: Contemplative at Home offers guided meditative prayer - space to slow down and listen to the truth that is being born out of God's love for you today - drawing on Ignatian spirituality and at times, Lectio Divina. All episodes are available on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify and many other podcast platforms. Please do consider leaving a rating or review wherever you listen, as this helps the podcast to become more visible on these platforms. Thank you! For more information and show notes please visit www.contemplativeathome.com or find us on Facebook. All music by Pete Hatch. petehatch.com.