Tuesday, December 18, Fourth Week in Advent
Angels play a significant role in the Christmas story of both Matthew and Luke
Belief in angels is rooted in Jewish tradition, which regarded angels as manifestations of Gods presence.
Jewish belief in angels went beyond the Scriptures and spoke of choirs (i.e. groups) of angels (a concept not found in Scripture) and names of angels. In Scripture only three names are given Michael, Gabriel, Raphael.
The Christian tradition has retained a strong belief in angels. The New Testament has more than twice as many references to angels as the Old Testament. However, in the Gospels, angels appear and speak only in the Infancy Narrative and at the empty tomb.
The Church has made few pronouncements about angels. It teaches that angels are created beings (not mini-gods) that they are personal (not simply forces) and that they do not have a material body (though when necessary they can appear in a human form.)
The word angel is a Greek translation of a Hebrew word meaning messenger.
Tuesday, December 18, Third Week in Advent
Dreams play an important part in Matthews account of the birth of Jesus. There are five of them four to Joseph and one to the Magi. In Josephs first dream, the angel gives him some astounding news. His wife, Mary, has conceived a child by the power of God!
Dreams played an important part in the life of another Joseph centuries earlier. When he told his brothers about his dreams, they became jealous. Eventually they sold him to a caravan headed for Egypt. Joseph ended up as a servant of the Pharaoh. Later he won great favor by interpreting the Pharaohs dreams.
The story of these two Josephs is the story of God working through human beings. God still does that, and I am one of the human beings through whom God accomplishes his plans.
As routine and plain as my life may seem, God acts through me to accomplish great things. They may seem small, but in the eons of Gods plan, theyre like the mustard seed which when full-grown is the largest of plants and puts forth large branches.
How did God work through me yesterday?