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Sunday, December 20, 1998

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Fourth Sunday of Advent

Isaiah 7:10-14
Romans 1:1-7
Psalm 24
Matthew 1:18-24

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christmas by faith, not by sight (2 cor 5:7)

"When Joseph awoke he did as the angel of the Lord had directed him." —Matthew 1:24

Joseph believed that Mary was pregnant not because of sexual relations, but by the Holy Spirit (Mt 1:20). He believed this because of God's grace given him in a dream about an angel bearing the message of the virgin-conception (Mt 1:20). Most people would consider Joseph one of the biggest fools ever, but we recognize him as one of the greatest men of faith in history.

To not divorce himself from the first Christmas (see Mt 1:19), Joseph needed great faith — a faith that would move much more than mountains (see Mt 17:20). The Lord gave him this super-faith. Like Joseph, to receive Christ this Christmas season, we will also need the gift of faith. Possibly, we will require great faith. We need the Advent gift of faith before we can receive the gift of Jesus' Christmas coming.

Ask the Lord for a greater gift of faith (Lk 17:5). In these next few days, read, pray, and study the teachings of the Church and the Bible. This will help you hear God and grow in faith (Rm 10:17). The Lord wants your faith in Him to become stronger and deeper than ever. Let Him gift you with greater and great faith.

Prayer:  Father, "I believe! Help my lack of faith!" (Mk 9:24, our transl.)

Promise:  "Ask for a sign from the Lord, your God; let it be deep as the nether world, or high as the sky!" —Is 7:11

Praise:  "O Key of David, O royal Power of Israel controlling at Your will the gate of heaven: come, break down the prison walls of death for those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death; and lead Your captive people into freedom."

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert J. Buschmiller, June 11, 1998

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 20, 1998