Wednesday, December 14, 2011

11 Days To Christmas - Faith

Faith is an uneasy word for most people because it assumes a certainty that's not quite there. At least, not yet.

It somehow expects adherents to believe that the 'here and now' is not the only valid worldview that one can subscribe to. And that something needn't necessarily be tangible or immediate for it to be grasped as a companion of reality.

The writer to Hebrews, for instance, described faith simply as the confidence in what one hopes for and assurance of that which one does not see.

In other words, the invisible no longer remains a mysterious entity that we should be wary of, but as something that beats with anticipation like a palpitating heart. Alive like an unborn child, a cry of joy just waiting to be heard.

Faith cannot be compared to wishful thinking because the latter is sustained by presumption and is not necessarily guided by anything concrete -- just a wish nothing more, nothing less. And in the same vein, it's certainly not a leap into the dark because its outcome is a foregone conclusion where the future is not hazy but somewhat well defined. The only difference being that future is yet to come or happen, as it were.

The events of the first Christmas night brings faith into another dimension altogether. Not as an idea or a thought one could wrestle with, argue over or even make sense of, it was a defiance of everything that was considered acceptable and challenged some accepted notions of propriety.

Mary and Joseph had to place faith in the words of the angels who spoke of the Messiah being born through virgin birth. A situation so unbelievable that no explanation was enough to discourage murmuring tongues from casting slurs. And yet they kept faith.

The shepherds had to place faith in the choirs of angels telling them - of all people - the news of the Messiah's birth. Who would ever think of making such a huge announcement to a bunch of social nobodies? Why should they even believe that they would be worthy of such an honor? And yet they kept faith.

The wise men from the east placed faith in a star that led them to the little town of Bethlehem and into the company of a lowly carpenter and his wife. The birth of the Messiah, they discovered, took place not in a palace in Jerusalem but in a manger. Not in an imperial household but in that of a carpenter and his young wife. And yet they kept faith.

They were the first to see the Messiah -- not as the One who turned water into wine, walked on water, healed the sick, made the lame walk, feed the five thousand or even rise from the dead after being brutally crucified. They saw Him as a little baby - frail and vulnerable in its humanity but with the promise of divinity shining bright nevertheless.

And their faith was made strong.

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