The gospel for yesterday was Joseph’s encounter with an angel of the Lord, after hearing that his betrothed Mary was with child. At that moment, Joseph held the life of Jesus in his hands. I had a similar revelation last year when I remembered the words “Gabriel waited.” This time I was asked to consider Joseph’s role in the birth of Christ. According to Jewish law, Joseph was betrayed and humiliated, and had it in his power to have Mary stoned to death. No Mary, no child, no Savior. But Joseph’s great compassion prevented this, to our salvation.

I tend to think that everyone has moments of grace like this: Mary accepting Gabriel’s message, Joseph receiving the news of the impending birth. Both of these people acted in such a non-human, or perhaps superhuman, way. You can see the evidence of the Holy Spirit residing in each of them. And what was the result? The birth of our Savior, born to show us that we are all of us capable of living among many, many moments of grace in our own lives. We are all capable of being like Mary and Joseph, every single day of our lives. What a truly awe-inspiring thought, don’t you think?