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A Bigger Perspective

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
- Matthew 1:20-21

After getting the stressful news of his fiancé’s surprise pregnancy and deciding on a course of action, Joseph went to sleep. Stress can be just as sleep-inducing as turkey consumption. Fear coursed through his veins; anxiety rocked him to sleep.

Something incredible happened to Joseph during his stress nap. Joseph’s life trajectory changed. He went to bed embarrassed and woke up emboldened.

What happened during that nap? An angel appeared to Joseph and reframed his experience in the light of the bigger thing God was doing in the world.

Joseph’s initial perspective on Mary’s pregnancy took into account all of the information he had: she’s pregnant, he’s not the father, they’re engaged. The angel challenged Joseph to take into account God’s great work. The child Mary carried had a divine origin and a divine purpose. Knowing this changed everything.

Once Joseph received this bigger perspective, his reason for being afraid went away. When he chose to listen and believe, his life changed.

Few of us will receive angel-filled dreams in our lifetime. But many of us will receive messengers from God who nudge them to take a bigger perspective on the world around them. That family member who disagrees with you across the table, that neighbor who talks to you about things you’ve never heard before, that friend from church who encourages you to have faith … perhaps God sent them to open your eyes to his work in the world.

This Thanksgiving, take a moment to close your eyes and ask the Lord to expand your perspective: to help you see what he’s doing in the world around you and to respond with faith and courage to what you see. Then, open your eyes and have a great Thanksgiving.

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