…bring us through the birth pangs of this present age
to see, with her (Mary), our great salvation
in Jesus Christ our Lord’ 
— from Church in Wales Collect Advent 4

When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took Mary as his wife  – Matthew 1.24


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…

         Don’t be afraid. Fear is destructive. It will eat away at you and tear you from the path of holiness, the way of wholeness. Man, your spiritual ancestor, David, fought the giant and won because, though just a boy, David knew the battle was God’s battle and what was required of him was simply to be God’s agent. Be not afraid. God calls you and God will walk with you. Woman, walk with God. Things are not as they seem.

Sometimes in a dream, we may know truth. Sometimes, wisdom kisses us in our wakefulness. Either way, what is real is, by the grace of God, available to us always, though it is usually hidden to our egoic, frightened false selves.

Joseph might easily have handed Mary over to the custom of his time and space and had her stoned to death for her “unlawful” pregnancy. No one programmed by said custom would have considered such action unrighteous. Ego, injured by perceived infidelity, should strike quickly and decisively, lick its wounds and begin the process of building itself up again. But ego did not have its way with Joseph. Something of Joseph’s true self stirred in him and, though he certainly did not understand the life-twist that was befalling him, he noticed the mystery that always dwells within the apparent. Joseph wished Mary no harm. God can work with this!

We all have opportunity to look more deeply at the events in our lives. We have the choice to lash out in egoic compensation or to hold back a moment and look for the mystery. We can shore up the ego or we can open a space for the true self to receive her oxygen. The former may provide quick relief but the latter will open the door to the kingdom of heaven already given, already present.

God says on every page of Scripture, in every leaf, every stone turned:

“I will walk with you, my child,

but first

you must marry



~ by Fr Tim Ardouin on December 15, 2016.

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