4th Sunday of Advent Year A - 22/12/2019 - Gospel: Mt 1: 18-24
Divine intervention
The birth of Jesus was not simply an ordinary or a historical event. It was God's design to save the human race. There were multiple divine interventions both in terms of preparation for the execution of God's redemptive plan, and also for the protection of the life of the young child, Jesus. God initiated the idea of saving the 'Fallen race' after they disobeyed God. The redemptive plan has been prophesized, especially by prophet Isaiah, who lived in the eighth century, before the birth of Jesus. When the time was due, God chose the young couple, Joseph and Mary, from Nazareth to take an active part in this magnificent saving action. The saving action happened only once and for all humanity. It was for humanity, and human beings were invited to take part. Joseph and Mary, each played a prominent role in the saving action, but the actual driving force behind the scene was the work of the Holy Spirit. Because human beings disobeyed God; God's Son took the form of a human, being born into this world, to obey God. In him the perfect obedience took place as he said: 'I come not to do my own will, but to do the will of the Father'. Jn 4,34; 5,30, 6,38

Jesus was born in Bethlehem, but known as Jesus of Nazareth, the birthplace of Joseph and Mary. Both of them lived a simple life, and were humble at heart. They received God's favour, and God's messenger interrupted their personal plans. They abandoned their own plans to adopt God's plan for them. Mary vowed to live a single life style, and God's messenger changed her mind when she responded 'yes' to God. Joseph intended to divorce Mary informally on the grounds, that she was pregnant before they came to live together. An engagement is not a legally binding in today's cultures, but in those days the betrothal could only be broken by divorce. The Jewish law at the time considered a pregnancy out of the wedlock was an act of adultery, and that person would be punished severely by stoning to death. To save Mary from this public disgrace, Joseph intended to leave her quietly. Mary probably knew nothing about Joseph's plan. His plan was shattered, when God's angel told him in his dream to abolish the idea, because what in her was not the work of any human person, but it was the work of the Spirit. In confirming the work of the Spirit, the name of the new born baby was chosen not by Mary or Joseph. The name was dictated by God and his name tells to the world about his life vocation- 'to save his people from their sins(Mat. 1,21).

Augustus called the first ever census, and that enabled Mary and Joseph to return to their birthplace to be registered. It was not a sheer accident, but a part of God's plan. Jesus was born at an open place, telling us that this world is only a passing place. He was born amongst the homeless, showing us that our true home is in heaven. He was born amongst the people society had rejected, confirming for us that God rejects no one. The shepherds waded in the snow to find the Light, assuring us that those who search for the Light certainly will find it. The birth of Jesus is the fulfilment of the promise God has made to save the human race. In him, we have hope, and are saved.