Advent Meditation: Who is the Object of Your Faith?
Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God.” (Mark 11:22)
It’s that time of year again. Decorative signs, advertisements, and commercials encourage us with the familiar messages:
“A Season of Hope”
At first glance, these tidings may warm our hearts as we go about our way, humming Christmas music while we shop. Yet as I stop to reflect on these phrases, I wonder, What exactly do they mean? Each of these statements is missing an essential element—the object of one’s belief, faith, or hope.
We could read these messages and easily interpret that we’re to “Just believe in Santa” or “Have faith in the goodness of mankind,” or that this is “A season of hope” because we’re looking forward to lovely times with family or to gifts around the tree. Understood in this way, these messages fall flat and bring little encouragement. Believing in Santa can be unsettling when you consider the song we sing about him:
He sees you when you’re sleepingHe knows when you’re awakeHe knows if you’ve been bad or goodSo be good for goodness’ sake!
It’s sobering to consider a large, bearded man dressed all in red velvet and smoking a pipe, keeping watch over us to see whether we’ve been good enough. Such a Jolly Old Elf’s works-based righteousness might be more cause for fear and trembling than happiness and joy.
The same is true as we consider placing our faith in mankind or hoping in family gatherings. As we look around our world, the news is dominated by hostility, racism, greed, discord, and disease. We’re a human race plagued with many struggles, and often these show up in our own families. And it’s not just the world “out there” but also the person I look at in the mirror that causes me to pause before placing my faith in mankind or hoping in perfect family gatherings.
These familiar Christmas phrases are problematic because they’re incomplete. It’s not enough to simply be a hopeful person or be full of faith. We must consider exactly where we’re placing our belief, faith, and hope. The object of our faith is the essential substance of it. When we lose sight of the actual meaning of our faith, we lose the very thing that sustains it.
When we lose sight of the actual meaning of our faith, we lose the very thing that sustains it.
The joy of the Christmas message is so much richer, deeper, and more beautiful than any other story that’s ever been told. Glory was wrapped in flesh and dwelled among us so we could be wrapped in righteousness and dwell with God. Jesus lived a perfect life so he could be the perfect sacrifice for all that’s wrong both in our own lives and in the world.
Without Jesus, our belief has no merit, our faith has no basis, and our hope has no anchor. In Jesus, we find the joy of believing. In Jesus, we know this to be a season of hope. In Jesus, we find the substance of our faith.
What person or thing are you tempted to trust in for your joy? What would it look like today for you to put your faith and trust fully in Jesus to provide for all your needs?
God rest ye merry, gentlemenLet nothing you dismayRemember Christ our SaviorWas born on Christmas DayTo save us all from Satan’s pow’rWhen we were gone astrayOh tidings of comfort and joyComfort and joyOh tidings of comfort and joy
– Author unknown, “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen” from the article: Advent Meditation: Who is the Object of Your Faith?