As we enter the second week of Advent, we reflect on the theme of faith. I would ask our hearts to consider the goodness of God, regardless of the disappointments last season may have held and no matter what uncertainty the current season may hold – steadfast in the promise that God is always working on our behalf. As we kicked off the Advent season reflecting on hope, it seems appropriate to now lean into faith as we look towards Christmas and the promise it represents.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).
This is the whole point of Advent isn’t it? That we look forward to the coming of an unseen God, the manifestation of love in human form? Jesus came to us as the fulfillment of hundreds of prophesies, millennia of prayers, and countless cries for help as humankind waited for a Savior. And in the midst of a lowly stable, against all odds and fading hopes, the essence of faith itself was birthed as a Child. How else can we remember the Christmas story if not in light of God’s promises fulfilled! Faith is a heart’s confession that says He is trustworthy, He will come, He is faithful.
This last year held many changes for my own family, many uncertainties and difficult moments in community, relationships, and internal struggles. I often had moments of anxiety and fear about how situations would unfold or if conflicts would ever be resolved. Yet in the midst of those times, I was reminded that faith is the tenacious grasp, yet peaceful surrender, to the goodness of God. It is the willingness to trust His unfailing love to change the circumstances right in front of my eyes, even though there is no worldly reason it can happen. Faith is the daily (sometimes even hourly) refocusing of my attention on the seemingly impossible promises of Heaven, rather than the threatening defeat in front of me. Faith is a posture of hope and assurance that God will continue to be the One who provides, the One who heals, the One who comes to us in time of need.
I once heard a pastor say that “faith doesn't deny a problem’s existence - it denies it a place of influence.” This is the idea that while we may feel surrounded by impossibilities, God is actually waiting to reveal an amazing solution if we simply trust His goodness and wait for Him to show up! As the people of Israel were faced with unfulfilled promises, we can often place our attention on the circumstances around us that appear to lack hope. Yet Jesus came to show us the heart of the Father, the heart of a King who answers the cries of His people.
As we celebrate the season of Advent, let us remember the coming of Jesus– not just two thousand years ago in a manger, but also here in our homes, here in our families, here in our places of need. Rather than partnering with fear, let us partner with an expectation of unstoppable goodness. Let us ask the Holy Spirit what surprises He has for us today, and let us stand in faith upon the extraordinary kindness of God, the knowledge that Jesus has come to us.