Reflect Emmanuel is a series of Advent meditations on Emmanuel, our God with us
December 18, 2015MaryAnne Murphy, Assistant to the Vice President of Student Affairs
In today’s first reading, Jeremiah offers this prophecy to the people of Israel, “The days are surely coming, says the Lord, “when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch.” The “righteous Branch” Jeremiah speaks of is the Messiah, a “sprout” who will spring forth from the earth with new life. During that time of great suffering and the destruction of Jerusalem, the Jewish people must have struggled to remain hopeful and firm in their faith that salvation lay ahead. In Matthew’s gospel, Joseph learns that Mary will bear a child who is not his. Joseph’s faith endures despite the stigma of being betrothed to a woman who is already expecting a child. Joseph and Mary shared hope for the future, lived their faith and believed in what should not have been possible. These readings make me think of my four children, the “branches” of my family tree, who are putting down their own roots. Our family is an expression of our hope for the future and faith in what we cannot foresee. My husband and I are blessed with two beautiful grandchildren, and are awaiting the arrival of two more in 2016. It takes a leap of faith to bring a child into this world today, and each of our grandchildren is truly a gift from God. As I watch my granddaughter light the menorah and recite the ancient Hebrew blessings, I am grateful that our different traditions allow us an opportunity to share what we have in common, a recognition of the Creator and His love for all. Advent is faith; Advent is hope. In this season of joy, we pray that all families walk with Emmanuel, God with us, in a world of peace, love and mercy.