4th Sunday of Advent | Dec 22, 2019
In this final week of Advent, our scripture readings and liturgical prayers are filled with even more anticipation for the coming Christmas feast. This week we look at two themes in the readings. Our video reflection dives into the meaning of the word "Emmanuel," the Hebrew word meaning "God with us" that we find in both our Old Testament and Gospel readings this Sunday. I also link to a post on our blog examining the role of St. Joseph, whom the gospel this Sunday presents as a model for how we should receive and respond to the word of God in our lives.

May God bless you in this coming Christmas season!

In Christ's Peace,
Deacon Matt
The Dream of St. Joseph (detail from Syrian icon)
D uring Advent we look for the coming of Christ in two directions. We look ahead, toward His coming in the future, at the end of time. This coming is emphasized more at the beginning of Advent. But we also look back, remembering His coming in the past, at the Incarnation. Here at the end of Advent, as we approach the great Christmas feast, it is this coming of Christ in history that receives the greater focus.

It is easy for us to take the great mystery of the Incarnation for granted. We forget how radical a thing it truly is, the Creator entering into creation, because it happened in such a humble way. Our God did not burst forth into the world in a great flaming chariot. He came as a baby, born of a woman, born in a manger; an event heralded by angels but noticed only by a few shepherds.
Our God chose a mother, Mary, who bore Him in her womb and nursed Him at her breast. She assented to be the Mother of God after being visited by the angel Gabriel at the annunciation. She, a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, gave her  fiat , her “yes,” to do God’s will and bear His Son. “Let it be done unto me according to your word” (Lk 1:38).

But what of Joseph? What must this have seemed like to him? He was a just man, as described in our gospel reading, concerned with doing what is right. He is betrothed to Mary, but has not yet taken her into his home. He finds Mary pregnant. He must have assumed that she had been with another. He must also have known this was not at all something Mary would do. He must have struggled deeply with this seeming contradiction. He must have brought the matter to prayer.

The gospel tells us that whatever else, Joseph did not desire to bring shame to Mary, and so resolved to divorce her quietly, without bringing her before the court. But before this can happen, Joseph has a dream....
Give Your Heart Away
UPDATE: Unfortunately, due to various factors including low registration and date conflicts, Give Your Heart Away (the Diocese of Charlotte's annual service weekend for college students) has been cancelled for this year. Thank you for those who registered, and we look forward to next year's event.
Was Jesus Born on Dec. 25?
Christians across the world will celebrate Jesus' birthday on Dec. 25. But do we actually know the day of the year on which Christ was born? And does it matter? In this podcast episode , Catholic apologist Jimmy Akin looks into the historical evidence both for and against Dec. 25 being the date of Jesus' birth.
Catholic Campus Ministry at WCU
Deacon Matthew Newsome, MTh, campus minister