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Being open to God’s plans for each of us

"The virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel."

Isaiah spoke these prophetic words to King Ahaz some 735 years before the birth of Jesus. It is conceivable the prophet had no idea how his obedience to God’s command to speak those words would be so pivotal.

Isaiah’s prophetic words cultivated an attitude of hope within the minds and hearts of the Jewish people. They engendered trust in God’s promise to provide them with a benevolent king who would protect them and provide for all their needs. Thank God Isaiah surrendered to his vocational call.

Joseph and Mary were certainly familiar with this passage, and like all other faithful Jews, they also were anxiously awaiting its fulfillment. They just never dreamt or even dared to hope they might play such a major role in bringing about its fulfillment.

God, however, dreams bigger than we can ever imagine. He had great plans for the two of them and through them for the rest of humanity. All he needed from them was their "yes." Thank God they surrendered to their vocational call to be husband and wife.

A virgin is an unlikely candidate for giving birth, yet this is exactly the sign God chooses to assure the people of Israel that they are his chosen ones and he has not forgotten his promise to them. The fulfillment of God’s plans for our lives begins and ends with our surrender to the call he places on our hearts.

God has big plans for each of us, but so often we are bound by fear and limited by our own imaginations and not able to receive the message. We would never dare to dream that God has chosen us to play a part in his plan to reveal his love to the world.

Yet, he has. We are called to be vessels of his love that are to be continually poured out and filled up by the Holy Spirit. Jesus came to liberate our imaginations and to set us free from anything and everything that might keep us from hearing and believing this fantastic truth. Have a Happy Advent!


Father Walter Nolte is pastor of St. Bernard Parish in Omaha. Contact him at

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