Welcome to the final week of Advent. It has been a long year and an especially unique Advent season of longing for Christmas. Many of us are worshiping from home—isolated from our church communities. Thankfully, we worship a God who acts and moves in all places. And we have the gift of Emmanuel—"God with us"—to be very present with us.
This painting depicts a scene described by Fr. Toups during one of his wonderful imaginative prayer sessions in the Rejoice! Advent series. He describes a scene where Mary and Joseph meet in their local synagogue to discus the implications of the child growing into their relationship. The reality that this child is the Messiah brings them both to a powerful moment of worship. Joseph realizes that Mary is a living tabernacle — a temporary dwelling-place for God when the hebrews were homeless during 40 years in the desert. This realization brings him to his knees and he adores the baby messiah. Mary opens her heart to God in praise. They both pray for each other as well. This creates a circle of prayer among the Holy Family. And God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all present in this space.
May you experience the gift of Emmanuel this season. May God's Advent come into your home and make a dwelling-place in your heart.