Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Characters of Christmas

The characters in the biblical texts surrounding the birth of Christ reveal much to seeking minds and hearts about what it means to walk by faith and thus be agents of God’s redemptive workings in a fallen, difficult world.

1.                 Sometimes faith stays and trusts God to intervene and be faithful over long periods of time even when life seems unfruitful, dry, and obscure (Zechariah and Elizabeth in Luke 1:5-25).

                What an incredible  example of faithfulness are this couple.  They walked with God over decades, though they did not receive the temporal blessings they surely wanted (a child).   They are models to us in 21st-century America, where faith is often consumer-oriented, feel-good, and not focused on persevering with God over the long haul.


2.       Sometimes faith believes God to do the impossible (Mary in Luke 1:38).


          The “how” of belief versus the “how” of unbelief.  Zechariah's "how"    showed unbelief, thus Gabriel's rebuke (I am Gabriel and I stand in the presence of God).  Mary's "how" came from a believing heart.


3.       Sometimes faith forces one to change life plans and directions (Joseph in Matthew chapters one and two).


4.       Sometimes faith separates self from the flesh and the shot-term trappings of this world (Mary and Joseph in Matthew 1:25).


5.       Sometimes faith acts immediately on a word from God and shares the good news of Jesus with others (the shepherds in Luke 2:8-20).


6.       Sometimes faith keeps God’s Word and workings close to one’s heart, meditating and pondering on what God has done (Mary in Luke 2:19).


7.       Sometimes faith remains in difficulty for a long time, trusting God and slowly influencing others (Anna and Simeon in Luke 2:21-38).


8.       Sometimes faith comes to new realizations, new dimensions of worship, and new dimensions of giving to God and others (Wise Men in Matthew 2:1-12).
What does God require for you to walk by faith?

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