25 December, Friday — Do Not Be Afraid

Brothers and sisters, we continue our tradition of introducing new contributors during the Christmas season by welcoming Felicia Zou, who is a little unsure about what to include in her bio. To her, it is more important is what she writes — that her reflections may, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, provide readers insight, comfort, or at least something to read when they are bored or unable to fall asleep.

Christmas Day — Vigil Mass

Isa 62:1-5
Acts 13:16-17;22-25
Mt 1:1-25

Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife… 

Verses 1 through 17 of the gospel of Matthew jumped out at me from a very distant memory. When I was a child, I had referred to this passage on the genealogy of Jesus and attempted a family tree — my ‘Jesus Family Tree’ Project. Needless to say, I had little clue what I was doing and what that passage and gospel meant, short of trying to visualise Jesus’ family. I suppose that is how children are. Seeing my children now living life without full understanding of what is happening around them, blissfully unaware, or rather, innocent and fully trusting, I truly wish I could be that way again. They don’t see the big picture, but that means they can live fully in the moment. No, it is not ignorance and the resultant bliss. It is a belief and a trust in something they know to be more than themselves (i.e., their parents) and that will keep them safe.

This year has been spectacular. No one has been spared setbacks. Facing concerns and anxieties of all kinds, I had been looking forward to Christmas. I have always loved Christmas, and the decorations would go up way before Ordinary Time was over. This year, I was also desperate for 2020 to end (who isn’t?). It has been a long wait the entire year for something to change for the better, a wait for a return to normalcy, a wait for the light at the end of the tunnel. What better way to signify this than with Christmas, the birth of our Saviour?

In this chapter of Matthew’s gospel, we see the immense faith of St Joseph. Facing a massive scandal of that time, or so he thought, he got cold feet and tried to back out of his marriage to Mary. At this point, it must be noted that instead of a very scandalous and public rejection of her, Joseph chose to informally and quietly leave her — he had still wanted to act in charity towards her. Then an angel of the Lord convinced him in a dream to continue with this journey with Mary as his wife. And St Joseph did so without any more hesitation. It is fitting that Pope Francis has declared a Year of St Joseph — we need to display the same kind of faith and courage that Joseph showed after hearing God’s command.

And so it is. The long wait, the preparation, the longing is over. We have seen the Star. It has been heralded and prophesied through the ages. A Saviour will be born to us. Yet, we are not promised health, wealth, and comfort henceforth. We are only asked to not be afraid, to have peace, to love, to feel joy, to hope. As I reflect upon this, I am more convinced that we need to trust in the Lord. Trust with childlike faith in His plan.  

The Saviour whom we have been waiting for will be born to us. Let us follow Him, without fear and with no worry, without the need to know the big picture, and without stressing about all the pitfalls that may await. Let us rejoice in His providence as we go about our daily lives, etching out His plan as we fulfill His will by our actions.  

Peace on earth, and goodwill to all.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Felicia Zou)

Prayer: Father God, teach us to seek you in all that we do.   May we always remember that You are the centre of our lives, and that all that we do should be a testimony of Your dwelling in us.      

Thanksgiving: Thank you Father, for always loving and being there for us.  Send your Holy Spirit to guide us in our journey.

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