Saint Joseph is a silent figure in the Gospel accounts of the birth of Jesus, but between the lines is found volumes of spiritual meaning and theological truth.
That brief dream of a guardian angel’s visit in the night turns out to be packed with meaning that had to be mined from its murky depths. So is the Gospel proclamation for the Fourth Sunday of Advent. The account of the Birth of the Messiah begins with Joseph’s dream, the first of three dreams in which he is called to specific action by “an Angel of the Lord.”
There are 126 references to dreams among the characters of Sacred Scripture. Some of the pivotal moments in Salvation History are communicated through those dreams. I use the present tense, “are” because the Word of the Lord is still communicating with us, and comes to life vividly in the first of Joseph’s dreams. The words are few, but they are packed with meaning, first for Joseph, then for the Evangelist, then especially for the Scripture which is for us, the believers:
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