The story of Mary and Joseph presenting Jesus tells us that Mary and Joseph were faithful Jews. Usually when Jewish parents presented a firstborn son in the Temple, they would offer a new lamb. However, Jewish law allowed those who were poor to offer two turtledoves. Simeon and Anna were faithful Jews who had waited all their lives for the Messiah. At the Temple, they recognized Jesus as the Promised One.
In reading the birth story in Matthew, we learn that Mary and Joseph were engaged. In the first century of Jewish culture, this meant they were already considered as husband and wife. Therefore, unfaithfulness constituted adultery. So when Mary was already pregnant, Joseph decided to break off their relationship.
In our gospel lesson for today, the spotlight falls on Joseph. On this last Sunday of Advent, before we gather to celebrate the birth of Christ, the mystery of God coming to us as a child, we have this story about an ordinary, quiet, faithful man named Joseph. Joseph might have been uncomfortable in the spotlight. But our gospel asks us to look closely at him, because through the quiet faith of this ordinary man, God was accomplishing extraordinary things.
In our telling of the Christmas story, Joseph often has a background role. He is a non-speaking character, the quiet, unassuming man standing by the manger in our nativity sets. Yet, his role is significant. In Joseph, we see some of the highest ideals of character, fatherhood, grace, love, mercy, and faith.
This feast is part of the Christmas season, so we should look at today's Gospel in the context of what Scripture tells us about Jesus' birth. Today's reading is found in the Gospel of Matthew, following the story of the visit of the Magi. Recall that Matthew's story about the birth of Jesus makes Joseph the primary character. Among Matthew's themes in this infancy narrative is Jesus as the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies about the messiah. Indeed, the story of the Holy Family's flight to Egypt recalls the story of Moses in the Book of Exodus.
"Part of the practice of these fiestas is to teach kids the faith. They hit a piñata also. This piñata originally had seven pikes. It could look like a star, and the story says that is the star of Bethlehem, the one that the wise men were following, which is officially the end of the celebration. 781b155fdc