It has been full evening, Christmas Eve services and dinner and gifts with Pat, Amy and Steve. It is hard to believe that I have been around for seventy-six of them. I can remember back in the day, way back, standing in the backyard at my grandmother’s house, looking up at the sky and wondering if Santa would be able to see the house with all these trees around it. I don’t remember when I first figured out about Santa and the connection between him and my parents, you just knew, nobody told you, it just suddenly happened. Just like girls and the fact that boys never got the connection with them, they just suddenly happened to be there and you never gave it a thought as to why you had always avoided them. Continuing in that vein of thinking I wonder why some of us suddenly become aware of Jesus Christ, after all he has always been there and unlike other things, he will always be there. I always believed Santa would come and my dad being a career military man, we weren’t always in the same place every Christmas. I never doubted for a minute that Santa would not find us wherever we were. I guess you might say that was my first exposure to faith. As young as I was I don’t know if I even understood what that meant. Even though we moved often it never kept my mother from keeping us in church. As the years went on I would gain a little more faith and that word began to insert itself into my life at a greater frequency . I don’t know why but as hard as it might be to believe I really did not hear it that much in church. My first real experience with faith left me with the knowledge that I was missing something and perhaps I needed to look that word up. My revelation came as I took my position at right tackle in the ninth grade, on a practice field in Texas. I believe a country band once had a song about “having a fiddle in the band if you want to play in Texas”. Well, if you’re not from Texas and you weigh 150 pounds, you have to have faith that the 185 pound tackle across from you, who has been playing football from the day he could walk will not get off the count before you make a pathetic attempt to block him. I had my faith tested many times but it was a while before I realized that it was my faith that made me stand in that gap, I always believed I could do it.Time after time my faith said I could do it but the result was not always to my liking. What brought me to think about this thing called faith on this Christmas Eve? It is the perfect time to ponder the question of faith. Think about it. Mary is a virgin and yet she has conceived a child, her husband Joseph is confronted by an Angel and puts aside conventional customs, honoring the betrothal and they journey to Bethlehem which just happens to fill the prophecy of the scriptures. There in a manger, with a star to mark the place of birth the Son of God is born and the heavens are alive with the praises in song and word, honoring the birth of Christ. So begins God’s reconciliation to his people.
Faith can often be an elusive thing in the secular world. It is difficult when you realize that having faith means understanding that you have no control, what will be, will be. Add to that the mistaken belief of some of your peers that there is a greater power, whether it be a God, the universe, or just karma that controls your destiny and you might start think you will need a bigger boat. Hebrews Chapter 11, what I call the faith and hero’s chapter states very plainly ….Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. You can’t get much plainer than that. Faith is also complete trust or confidence in someone or something, for the Christian that person is Jesus Christ. Christians are encouraged through scripture …Corinthians 16:13 ‘Keep alert, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong.’ To have a relationship with God and Jesus you must have faith. You have to transcend the things of this world and value the things promised, believe the Word even those things unseen and have the conviction that what we believe in faith will come to pass, then faith becomes something real and a part of our lives that we now possess in its entirety. It is the assurance that a God given faith will overcome the things of this world, an overcoming faith that only a believer can possess. 1 John 5:5 Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. It is taking God at His Word.
So as we celebrate the birth we might ask ourselves, does faith abide within our hearts or in the lights and presents and the seasonal celebrations we value so much. I hope you have had a wonderful time with family and the New Year brings you the Good News and may the FAITH of our fathers abide with you always.
Life is Good