As we journey through life, are we seeking signs, hints that we are on the right path?  Are we following Mary and Joseph’s example by trusting in the Lord?

At a certain point, we think we have it figured out.  We choose a direction.  We establish our “place,” our habits of being, our customs, and we continue to make our plans.  Then what?  Life happens.  A tragedy, a difficulty, a bump in the road comes along and we are at our wit’s end.  What are we to do?

God is real to us.  He is with us.  In this season of Advent, we do our best to give Him room in our lives.  We acknowledge that “Jesus is the reason for the season.” 

But we have to admit that sometimes it does not seem like enough. Some of the hurdles we have to overcome are too much for us.  God asks us to stay in touch with Him. “Ask for a sign.”  This is not merely an invitation to play a game with God, to ask Him to prove Himself to us.  Rather, it is an invitation to us to look more deeply into our lives, as they are, to discover His message to us.

What is the message of the season?  It is really very simple: God is with us.  In the person of Jesus Christ, He has taken our nature and He will not desert us.  “Let the Lord enter; He is King of glory.”  Where?  Right here, right now.  He is with us.  All He asks us to do is to stay with Him.

Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord.  Let it be done.”  Joseph obeyed the command of the angel and took Mary into his home.  Together, they built a house for God.  So, what is the house God is asking you to allow Him to build in you?  What is the house God is asking you to build around you?  Will you and your house serve the Lord?  Why do you hesitate? Fear? A sense of inadequacy? Doubt about God’s power?  Like Mary and Joseph, we can put our trust in the Lord.  

When we encounter human limits, we are most vulnerable, and we realize then that we can do nothing without God. 

There is no problem with having questions.  The problem is that we may choose to allow the questions to impede our hearing the answers at the depth at which they are given.  “No, I will not tempt the Lord’ could be a way of showing God respect.  But when God is asking for trust and inviting us to make use of what He offers, it is the height of pride.  God wants us to come close to Him.  He does not back down from the standards He sets, but He does help us to meet them.  When we sin, He touches us with mercy by way of forgiveness.  When we are ill or facing death, He touches us with mercy.

Let us ask the Lord for a sign, trusting in His word to us.  And let us open our lives to Christ, who will surely not delay His coming.

– Father Timothy Hayes