From Sister Edith's beautiful Advent reflection. I'm tempted to quote the whole thing. Don't miss it!
After the Annunciation, after Mary's fiat, God could have arranged for the birth and care of his Son in so many ways. Surely Zaccariah and Elizabeth, who welcomed Mary into their home for three months early in her pregnancy, would have given her shelter and care. Joachim and Anne — who had dedicated this daughter to God before her birth — would have welcomed her home again. The Magi, the shepherds, the people of the town — there is no limit to the ways in which God could have provided for Mary and for her child to be born. God chose none of those alternatives: he chose Joseph....
When God's angel comes to Joseph as he sleeps, he bears a message so startling and profound that scripture scholar Raymond Brown referred to this passage as "the other annunciation." Joseph is attentive to God's word, even in his dreams. He hears that this child will be called Emmanuel, will be God's presence among us. And that he is the Messiah, come to save us.
Like the first annunciation, this angel's message requires a response. Joseph's fiat is not spoken. Rather, his actions echo Mary's words: I am the servant of the Lord. Be it done to me according to your word. Mary's assent gave flesh to the Word; with Joseph's assent, a family and home has been provided. All is now ready for the great mystery of God's entrance into the fabric of human history.
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