First Sunday after Christmas Day | Matthew 2:13-23
Three times in this passage we read that Joseph was warned in a dream. Just as before when Joseph learned that Mary was already pregnant and an angel appeared to guide him, it seems that Joseph’s angels appear to him only in dreams.
Dreams are that space where the walls we build around our innermost thoughts crack and come falling down. In our waking world we keep our fears at bay and we block out our hearts. In dreams, our fears disguise themselves and walk up to us, our desires walk out into the light to be seen. And in dreams, sometimes God speaks.
Maybe God is speaking to us all the time, and it is just that our dreams are the only place where our minds are quiet enough to hear.
The Magi came, strange wise men from the east. We know nearly nothing about them. It is likely Joseph knew nearly nothing. They came to see the child, left astonishing gifts, and departed never to be mentioned again. And after they leave, Joseph begins to dream.
He believes in the message of his dream enough to take his new family and hide them in Egypt, finding safety in what had been the land of Pharaoh. He has yet more dreams, and he believes in these enough to uproot his family again and to return to Nazareth.
Unlikely as it may seem, Joseph believed his dreams were the voice of God and acted on what he heard. Just like that.
A voice in our heads does not mean that God is speaking to us. Still, though the voice is just in our heads, it may be the voice of God. We only hear God when we stop to listen.
If we never act on our dreams, they remain only voices in our minds. When we act on our dreams, we meet God face to face.