JOY in Respect

that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself,

not counting their trespasses against them,

and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us.

20 So we are ambassadors for Christ,

since God is making his appeal through us …(2 Cor. 5:19-20)”

Paul writes these words to ordinary people like you and me, like Joseph and Mary, and like George Bailey and Mary.

         There is an ugly scene in “It’s a Wonderful Life” when George learns that $8,000 has been misplaced and his Uncle does not know where.  George panics and runs to Mr. Potter who actually has the money.  George begs for a loan.  Potter turns on George and shames him when George offers his life insurance policy as collateral for a loan.  Potter jeers, “You’re worth more dead than alive.”  There is no joy, no encouragement, no hope but only words that drive George to despair and plant the idea of suicide in his mind.

On the other hand, biblical Joseph, husband of Mary, has a dream and is greeted with the words, “be not afraid.”  Those are words of hope and accompaniment.  If the God of the universe is willing to walk with us, money, ethnicity, education and talent, all the things the world respects, dim when we know that God respects us and wants to partner with us.

Paul calls us ambassadors of reconciliation.  Our prayer is to not be like Mr. Potter who pointed George to suicide but to be ambassadors who point people to God and are willing to walk with others through the challenges of living in this world.  May we be reconcilers this Christmas.  That is joy.  Blessings.

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