By Linda Santavicca
Thanks to social media, we can access anyone anywhere at anytime. Strangers, with perhaps one mutual friend in common, will befriend anyone for no reason other than to ramp up their popularity status through six degrees of separation. As a user of Facebook, I do not consider 437 friends to be my most intimate confidants. There are only about four of those. Nonetheless, there is often one friend who reconnects us to our past and resets our future.
Distracted by the silence in my office, I decided to login to my Facebook page. And sure enough, another friend request from some guy by the name of Matthew. What amazed me was the staggering number of mutual friends we had, but that was not what was grabbing my attention. Matthew had over a trillion friends. That is a lot of traffic! I clicked on his ‘About’ page to get a glimpse of his profile. First, he does not have a last name although at one time he was called Levi. By profession, he is a tax collector. He is part of a network with eleven other guys, called the Apostles. They spend much of their time walking for miles and miles and talking to anyone they come into contact with. Their mission is to spread good news by speaking to the masses. Matthew also uses Facebook messenger and his Twitter feed to get the story out into cyber space as well.
More curious about this Matthew guy, I tried to retrieve additional information on him to make sure he was no hacker. There were no photos of what he had for dinner, no weddings, no graduations, no crowning achievements, no job promotions and no selfies. All I could find was his desire to share a message; not just a message but an unprecedented story that would change the course of history.
Thus, I began to immerse myself in the posting, which went viral. First, we read that a virgin named Mary was to be married to some guy by the name of Joseph. Yet, before Mary and Joseph made the commitment official, Mary became pregnant. But, Joseph was not the father. Of course, Joseph, who was faithful to the law was perplexed by the bewildering set of circumstances. So, rather than put Mary through public shame, he decided a divorce was the only option. Before he had a chance to move forward on his decision, an angel of the Lord appeared to him 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.” Gripped with anticipation, I continued reading, “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.” Then Joseph awoke from his dream and complied with the angel’s command to take Mary home as his wife because this miraculous birth was to fulfill what the Lord said through the prophet: “The Virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel.” Enthralled by this newborn baby, I did a search on the meaning of Immanuel and found that it means “God with us.” And then it hit me. That is our gift; a Savior, born in a manger, who would take on all our sins.
Contemplating Matthew’s story, so sublime, it occurred to me why he had so many friends. He wanted all to celebrate in The Gift, the reason for the season.
Before logging off, I accepted Matthew’s friend request and shared his miraculous story with my 437 friends. After hitting ‘like,’ I then scrolled up to ‘follow’ Jesus.