God loves you so much. Christmas is His way of proving it. He became a person just like you. God-in-a-Baby grew up in this challenging world, now so different from how He created it. Baby Jesus entered shattered creation to become a Savior. He says, “Look! I am making everything new.” (Rev. 21:5) He invites you to trust Him for this “new” in daily details, disappointments, tragedies and sorrows, and in losses that cannot be fixed. Jesus is the prize of Christmas because He is the only one who can help.
Let’s be honest about faith. There are times that trusting God seems hard. It is work and requires focus. But really? Trusting is only one choice away. Once you make that initial hard choice – and stay in that place, no matter how hard your life has been – it somehow becomes easier to trust.
There is a wear and tear effect regarding faith, however. Let’s look at it. If you have been trusting for a long period of time with no visible answer, you may feel stretched to a point you think you just might rip apart. When you already have frayed edges during Christmas, it is painful to have unresolved issues linger. At a time that is supposed to be joyful, you feel stuck in a black hole, and you can’t get out.
The temptation is to quit. To give up. To shut down. Some choose this option. Some hang on by fingernails, thinking – “If I walk away from trusting God, I’m leaving everything I believe is true. Surely God can be trusted. But where is He? Why doesn’t He show up? What did I do wrong?”
When you are in this place, you often feel deeply discouraged. May I offer a few ideas?
I’d like to propose that faith is a vibrant thing. Pulsing and active. Faith has power. It also has the glow of human glory. Fresh perspective flows from faith with strength to hang on for God’s timing. When you are down, get back into the flow of faith. Take your brokenness with you, and lay it at Jesus’ feet in the flow. Pour out your sorrow, and soak in new life from Jesus by faith. Refuse to let your hurt consume you by drawing close to Christ by faith. Insist that your feelings follow you as you obey the Lord, like the wagging tail of a puppy follows him.
Christ transforms you as you simply trust and rest in Him.
Faith’s tensile strength is tested often. Apparently, a tiny bit of uranium delivers a huge punch in certain applications. In the same way, a tiny bit of faith (Scripture says – the size of a mustard seed) placed with resolve in a worthy end point can move a mountain. The only worthy end point is the Christmas Baby. God promises results for your life through His infant Son, especially at Christmas time. Please, abandon yourself to trust Him. Let your heart rejoice this Christmas even with unfinished issues and broken pieces. We all have them. Some have more than others. But the Baby is greater than them all.
God stretches “mere faith” into “active faith.” Waiting on God with eager expectation transforms tiny faith into cosmic faith. Jesus said, “The righteous person will live by faith.” (Rom. 1:17) How can you engage faith in practical ways this Christmas? What simple action steps help when your faith hangs by a thread?
Choices You Can Make This Christmas to Increase Faith (even if you are down)
- Pause to remember you have a choice, even in a dark place.
- Pray for God’s help as you make choices. Ask for His intervention.
- Partner with God from your heart by absolute surrender. Practice what His Word tells you to do.
- Praise God for all Christmas stands for. Baby Jesus is a picture of God’s love. The cross is proof.
- Practice traditions that are special to you and your family, even if they feel empty. Mean them.
- Position your mind to accept that your feelings do not represent the essence of who you are.
- Prepare for a New Year on purpose. Resolve to live in the knowledge that Jesus is Lord.
- Prove your love for Jesus in hard times. One day, every knee will bow and every tongue will admit the Baby is Lord. But only those who trust Him NOW get the joy of having done so.
Isn’t this what Christmas is about? God’s love. Peace in the storm. Shelter in difficulty. Comfort in sorrow. Rejoicing in eternal things. Celebrating a Baby, Savior, Friend. Declare to everyone, especially in the face of the enemy, that you trust the grown-up Baby. Get stubborn about trusting at Christmas, and watch your thread of faith turn into a Christmas garland around your life!
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