Can you imagine the challenge facing Mary and Joseph when God asked them to welcome Jesus into their family? Imagine what it must have felt like for them to step out of their comfort zones and put their faith into action in such a radical way.
Scripture gives us a hint of their initial reactions. Mary asked the angel, “How can this be?” (Luke 1:34). She was a virgin, after all. For his part, Joseph contemplated divorcing Mary rather than marrying a woman whom most people would have considered an adulteress (Matthew 1:19). But despite these first misgivings, Mary and Joseph accepted God’s plan because they came to see with the eyes of faith.
Now, we know that faith is a matter of believing in things that we cannot see (Hebrews 11:1). But there’s another side to faith: when we actively believe, we find that our inner eyes are opened. We begin to perceive things that we never saw before.
Do you want to “see” the invisible? Do you want to have your inner eyes opened? All you have to do is pray. Prayer puts us in touch with God’s power. It teaches us to see the invisible. One simple prayer that I say throughout my day is this: “Jesus, I give you the first affections of my heart.” I have found that this prayer touches Jesus’ heart and moves him to pour his grace on me. And that grace melts my heart and opens my eyes.
When my inner eyes are opened during Advent, I see Jesus not just as a baby in a manger but also as a king sitting on a glorious throne. I see him ruling over a kingdom of peace and love. Such a wonderful vision increases my faith and moves me to give more of my life to Jesus. It moves me to embrace God’s plan more deeply. Then, because I have embraced his plan more, God opens my eyes that much more, and the whole cycle of grace and faith starts over again.
This is the same cycle of grace and faith that Mary and Joseph experienced. They didn’t grasp God’s plan all at once. Their faith and understanding continued to grow, and their eyes were opened in the process.
During this Advent season, Jesus wants to reveal himself to you and your family more clearly. He wants to open your inner eyes. All he asks is that you give him the first affections of your heart, and you’ll see your lives change. It is my prayer that this special issue of The Word Among Us will help you to do just that. May God’s blessings be upon you and all your loved ones this season. May you have a blessed and happy Christmas!
Joe Difato, Publisher | Email the Publisher at [email protected]