12 words till Christmas · Faith · Hope · Promises · Reality

11 words till Christmas… faith…

With 11 days until Christmas…
by faith… I hear the word faith
as the next word of Christmas…

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen;
it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.
Hebrews 11:1 NLT
Faith… confidence in what we hope for…
assurance… certainty… about what we do not see…
Faith… it’s how I’m approaching these 12 days of Advent writing…
hope in Him… to speak and provide…
assurance… of words to come… ones yet unseen…
Faith… a Christmas word…
Mary… by faith… took the word of Gabriel…
regarding the news of expectancy he shared with her…
And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”
And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you,
therefore the child to be born will be called holy — the Son of God. …”
Luke 1:34-35 ESV
…and Mary gave a faith-full response…
And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord;
let it be to me according to your word.”
Luke 1:38 ESV
I wonder if she felt the Spirit come upon her…?
did she sense the power of the Most High overshadowing…?
the Unseen… doing His work…?
Faith…

Joseph… when faced with a pregnant fiance…
received the dream… by faith…
Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way.
When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together
she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph,
being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her
quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord
appeared to him in a dream, saying, “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. She will bear a son, and you shall call
his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
Matthew 1:18-22 ESV
In the Hebrew culture… an engagement was a binding contract…
even though not yet married… the couple considered husband and wife…
legal proceedings had to take place to break an engagement… a divorce required…
Joseph responded to this dream… this message… with faith…
When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him:
he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son.
And he called his name Jesus.
Matthew 1:24-25 ESV
There was no evidence… nothing tangible…
to prove to Joseph Mary’s pregnancy was divine…
but he had assurance… of what was… unseen…
Faith…

The magi… by faith… followed a star…
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king,
behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who
has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose
and have come to worship him.”
Matthew 2:1-2 ESV
These wise men were from the east…
they were not Jews… but Gentiles…
They were scholars in their country…
and in their study of the stars…
they saw a sign of a newborn King…
In these days… there was no news service…
no Twitter… or tweets…
no Facebook… or instant messaging…
no radio… no TV…
The magi… saw… discerned…
packed up gifts… and traveled far…
to worship… the Unseen King…
Faith…

Faith has power to make hopes reality…
convince us of things unseen…
A loved one responded to my question…
It’s been the same for two years… why do you think anything will change…?

In the moment… I had no answer… just stunned by his…
but later… in the quiet… the answer rose from my heart…
Hope… that’s why I believe things will change…

Hope in the Unseen’s work…
Hope in His response to my prayers…
Hope in His promise…
He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all,
how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
Romans 8:32 ESV

Where is your faith instilling hope this Christmas…?
What unseen reality… do you need to nurture with faith…?
Christmas is a season of faith…
accepting… rejoicing over… God made flesh…
a Babe in a manger…
the Hope of the world…
all… by… faith

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