God says to Ahaz, ask God for a big sign, but Ahaz responds that he doesn’t want to bother God. Is this you? Do you really want to see a better world? Is it easier to be dissatisfied than joyful?
There is a little bit of Ahaz in all of us. Sometimes, it feels safer to be dissatisfied, because there’s nothing to lose. Why are we so afraid of something better? Why are we so afraid of trying? Why are we so afraid of the good things that God desires for us?
Too often, we simply accept the status quo, and we don’t stop to think about how we can make it better. Have you ever opened your electric bill and discovered that it quadrupled for no apparent reason? What did you do? Did you call customer service and press one until you nearly wore out the dial pad on your phone? When the utility company did not offer a credible explanation, did you do more research or did you throw up your hands in defeat? With God on our side, we have the opportunity to improve our own lives, but it requires our steadfast commitment. Sometimes this commitment involves phone calls and letter writing. Other times, the commitment to better living involves self-discipline, financial sacrifice or an intentional shift towards a more positive perspective.
The Gospel of this week continues to develop the theme of signs, faith and commitment. Joseph wanted to walk away from his relationship with Mary. It probably wasn’t an easy decision for him to make, but after the angel appeared to him in a dream, he did as he was commanded and took Mary into his home. Joseph believed that God would send a sign of great love foretold by Isaiah, and brought the prophecy to fulfillment by remaining committed to his family. He couldn’t do God’s will by slipping quietly out the back door. Joseph had to persevere because God’s love just doesn’t give up so easily. Joseph had a critical role in God’s plan for a brighter tomorrow.
So do you.
As we await the coming of Christ at Christmas, consider his helplessness as an infant. True God and true man lived as child and relied on other human beings so that he could grow into an adult who would redeem the world. Christ continues to dwell among us. It our responsibility to recognize the flame that flickers within every human heart, gather those flames into one, and let Christ’s light shine in every dark corner of the world. It is up to us to remain steadfast so that our light burns brightly— for it is only in the light that we can enjoy the splendor that is God’s kingdom.