top of page

Advent 4 C ~ "A Leap of Faith" ~ Susan McGurgan


Sometimes, it's hard to see the Holy Spirit at work in our lives, when that Spirit turns our lives upside down.


Sometimes, it's hard to believe a message from God, when the message makes no sense.


Sometimes, it's hard to receive a blessing, when that blessing carries both sacrifice and pain.


Sometimes, it's hard to tell a dream from a nightmare.

Yet, this is how the Birth of Jesus Christ came about.

A heavenly messenger.

An unbelievable story.

A leap of faith.

For Joseph to believe in the Word of God, he first had to suspend belief in everything he believed to be true. For Joseph to trust the Word of God, he first had to launch himself off a cliff, and trust that God would break his fall.


And no matter how many times a messenger—even a heavenly messenger—tells you, “Do not be afraid…", these are fearful and frightening events. Because in Joseph's world, in our world, virgins don't get pregnant, Kings aren't born to peasants, ordinary men don't become foster father to the Messiah, and angels rarely make house calls--even in our sleep.


Yet, this is how the Birth of Jesus Christ came about.

It's tempting to look back on that moment when the Word became flesh and see it as miraculous, yet completely removed from our own lives. To view it as an amazing story that happened to saints long ago and far away--plaster statues whose palms never sweat, whose knees never buckle, whose hearts never pound with terror and joy.

It's tempting to look back on that event and freeze it as a moment in time; to encase it in swaddling clothes made of laminated plastic and turn this world-changing, universe-shaking, explosion-of-God-into-our-world into a Holy Card that we can tuck safely away between the pages of our Bible, or a crèche scene that marches tamely across our living room mantle.


Yet this story can’t be tamed, or controlled, or contained neatly in the past. It leaps off the page and launches itself into our lives each and every day.

Like Joseph and Mary, we are invited to help birth Christ into our world—by saying "yes" to God, even when the invitation is terrifying. By working for justice even when it’s easier to walk away. By speaking the truth even when it's safer to be silent. By telling this Story time and time again, even when it seems that no one is listening. It’s a challenge guaranteed to make our hearts pound and our palms sweat.

Like all births, it might be painful and messy--hard, dangerous work that will turn our lives upside down and demand all we have to give. There will be days when God’s messages make no sense and times when God’s blessings seem dubious, at best. Like Joseph, it might be hard to tell a dream from a nightmare. We may feel as if we are jumping off a cliff, with nothing but trust to break our fall.

A heavenly messenger.

An unbelievable story.

A leap of faith.

Yet, for Joseph, and for all of us, this is how the birth of Jesus Christ comes about!

62 views1 comment
bottom of page