“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home."
Edward Schillebeeckx, O.P., one of the most important and respected theologians of the 20th century, said that it would not be rash to reduce the entire Gospel to a phrase we often find the Bible: Be not afraid. Reminding all who believe that they have already been saved, Schillebeeckx insists there is no theological reason to fear because God has come in the flesh and promised to live with us forever.
What must have Joseph felt when Mary told him she was pregnant? Though betrothed, they had not lived together. He could not have been the father of her child, but in a dream, which he trusts, God tells him not to be afraid. No matter how others might look at or ridicule him, he should welcome Mary to his house, and with his yes his life and ours change. Overcoming his fears and confusion, Joseph becomes a model for us in times of doubt. God is near to him and will help him through his darkness. God is also near to us and this reality is what we celebrate and proclaim so loudly at Christmas.
Today, put aside fear. Put on love.
What fears continue to haunt you on your faith journey?