We are talking about love during the fourth week of Advent. “It’s a Wonderful Life” gives us a more fleshed out story we are putting beside the Christmas story of Matthew. Yesterday we thought about George Bailey as he stood on the bridge contemplating suicide. Angel second class Clarence Oddbody jumps first and George saves him just as God jumps into our reality with us. The scene then shifts to inside the guard house and Clarence is explaining to George who he is as their clothes dry. The guard listening to the exchange, upon hearing Clarence declare he is an angel, falls off his chair and runs out of the room. Clarence, only a second class angel, has the blessing of God and having a simple faith, does not run from George’s despair but innocently seeks to speak into it and encourage George who doubt’s Clarence’s comments. An angel without wings is probably his guardian angel!
If Mary had a chance to explain to Joseph “her side of the story” about her pregnancy, it might appear that Joseph was not believing as he decided to divorce Mary quietly. Once Joseph is told by the angel, though, that the baby is from God, Joseph sticks with Mary despite how crazy the explanation sounds. It seems like it is so easy to be like the bridge guard who runs when events don’t make sense rather than sticking close til all the facts unfold.
So often it takes a while for people’s stories to make sense. It seems we are ready to pass judgment before all the facts are known in the court of public opinion. Finding “a friend who sticks closer than a brother,” and who is willing to be loyal is a big gift. God is loyal to his creation and to the vision of blessing the descendants of Abraham. Another word we use to describe this loyalty is “faithful.” God is faithful to his followers and to his word. Love sticks close during trials and is faithful. Take a moment and think of a friend or two who has been faithful to you and thank God for that person. Blessings.