WHEN ANGELS INTERVENE IN OUR RELATIONSHIPS
(Wednesday, December 20)
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.’ So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which is translated, ‘God with us.’” (Mt 1:18-23)
On this first day of the Forefeast of Christmas (NC), I’m thinking how very human this family drama was, which played out in the little household of Joseph, to whom the young Mary was betrothed. These two *just* people barely knew each other and apparently did not talk much, so their drama played out in silence. When the very awkward situation developed that her pregnancy began to show, Joseph dealt silently with his fears. Did *she* notice, that he had noticed? If so, did she want to explain, but could not find the words, or fear she would not be believed? We don’t know, but one can only imagine the awkward silence in the house.
But here an angel stepped in, one of the invisible good guys. Does this make the story un-relatable for us, *ordinary* people? I think it’s relatable and holds a practical lesson for us, for those sticky moments in our own male-female interactions, when we fear rejection or betrayal but don’t know what to say or do. The lesson is that Joseph did not become angry in his silence and had compassion for his betrothed, which is why his silence was open to the voice of one of the invisible good guys. It nudged him in the right direction, saying, “Do not be afraid.” After this, Joseph and the Holy Virgin began to communicate more effectively, as we read further: “Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him (*parélaven*, received) his wife…”.
Thank God for that, because she needed him. Even she needed a man in her life, at that time. Just like we need one another. I, for one, need both men and women in my life, and am sometimes fearful or suspicious of being used, betrayed, not valued and so on. These fears are not necessarily unfounded, but – and here is the lesson I glean from the above-quoted story, – fear should never be the basis for what I do, or do not do, about it. Fear needs to be treated by its antidote, faith, and opened up to God, Who will enlighten us, as to how or if we should proceed in any given human relationship. By His grace, we remain capable of *obedience* to the good guys, the good voices in our midst, both visible and invisible, which nudge us in the right direction, so we don’t act rashly or lose the relationships we are meant to foster, and that are meant to foster us. Thank You, God, for the good guys. And by the prayers of the Theotokos, Savior, save us!