Matthew 1:18-25

December 18, 2014

3rd Week of Advent

When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him. (Matthew 1:24)

Many of us know George Bailey as the main character in the classic film It’s a Wonderful Life. This beloved movie tells the story of Bailey’s crisis of faith. When a rival steals his bank deposit, Bailey faces the prospect of imprisonment and comes close to throwing himself off of a bridge. But an angel named Clarence appears and shows him what life would have been like for other people if he had never been born. Seeing the positive impact he has had on so many, Bailey changes his mind.

Joseph also went through a moment of crisis. Hearing about Mary’s surprise pregnancy, he must have wondered what God was up to. How could this happen to the most virtuous woman in Israel? He was ready to give up the whole idea, but he too had a visit from an angel, who convinced him to trust in God’s plan. Imagine how different things would have been if Joseph had said no!

What would the world look like if you had never been born? Perhaps it seems like a pointless reflection, but there are people who count on you in this world. And not because of what you do for them but because of who you are. It may be your friendly manner, your smile, or your patience that puts them at ease. You are one way they have—sometimes the only way—of meeting Christ in the flesh.

Take it a little further. In a sense, your presence has eternal consequences. You may be the one who steers someone toward God, perhaps someone who is at the point of giving up or never had any faith to begin with. Even if you don’t see it yourself, you are part of the invisible glue that holds things together in your parish or church community. There are a lot of bricks in a wall, and each one is important. Those people you influence will influence other people. And so on, and so on.

So as you venture out today, thank the Lord for blessing you with the gift of yourself!

“Lord, thank you for the gift of life. Today, in my small corner of the world, give me a chance to show someone how big your love is!”

Jeremiah 23:5-8
Psalm 72:1-2, 12-13, 18-19

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