O come all ye faithful joyful and triumphant
Oh come ye O come ye to Bethlehem;
come and behold him born the King of angels;
O come let us adore him Christ the Lord.
Faith. I’ve actually been putting off writing about Advent this week because it’s not easy. Even in that hymn- how can the “faithful” always be joyful? It’s a good idea, but in reality? It’s not easy to say you have “faith” in God in our world today. It’s raw. It’s really “real.” Actually…it’s really stinkin’ hard.
Mary – a young VIRGIN girl, just coming of age. Told by an angel (Can you imagine – a young teenage girl experiencing an ANGEL?!) that she would not only give birth to a baby but that he would be the Son of God. Oh Mary, you are highly favored. What?!
Where’s your faith now, Mary?
Joseph – Your fiancee. You’ve kept yourselves pure. You have plans to marry soon. You’re both God-honoring individuals. You love her so. Mary? She’s pregnant – FYI. Figure that one out. She says she’s still a virgin. Explain that to your family. To your community. Have fun with that.
Where’s your faith now, Joseph?
Mary & Joseph – You’ve traveled so far. You’re tired. Exhausted. Mary is about to pop with that baby. Seriously. Anytime. Oh here you are far from home. Joseph, your feet are tired from the many miles you’ve walked? Mary – your back hurts? Contractions? Maybe you should try and find a place to sleep and rest. Nothing? There’s absolutely nothing available. God – where are you?! You promised to be faithful. You promised!! The contractions are getting stronger. Ouch. No rooms. Every inn is full, full, full. Well, a backyard stable is better than nothing… at least Mary can lay down? It might be warmer? I guess?
Where’s your faith now, Mary and Joseph?
Another shooting. At a workplace, no less. A place normal people go. every. single. day. Innocent people dead. Families shattered. Parents. Friends. Faithful Christians. Right before the holidays, too. So many questions. Headlines saying “God Isn’t Fixing This.” So much fear. Everywhere.
“For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” Luke 1:37-38
“Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife.” Matthew 1:19-24
“God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling.
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
6 The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
7 The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.” Psalm 46:1-7
“Where’s your faith?” Satan’s greatest tool then, Satan’s greatest tool now. Doubt. Fear. Worry.
So where’s my faith?
In the God that promised a Savior to his people for generations.
In the God that gave his Son to a humble young virgin as her child.
In the God that promised provision to the worried, scared, carpenter.
In the God that stands strong against the waves, storms, and darkness in this world.
In the cross.
The One who promises to take away the doubt.
The waves. The storms. The darkness.
THAT’S where my faith is, Satan. In the One who has defeated you. In the One who wins. In the One who reigns forever.
“Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” 1 John 3:8
“The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.” Romans 16:20
4 “They [the beast] will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.” Revelation 17:14
Yeah, there’s my faith. In HIM. Maybe there can actually be joy in being faithful…