Growing up, my favorite game was hide-and-seek, especially the hiding part. I remember one time, I discovered a hiding place so clever that at the end of the round, I was the only player left who could not be found. “We give up!” came the defeated cry of my opponents. Everyone had joined in on the futile search, and I was declared the triumphant winner. With pride I wriggled out of my hiding spot and allowed praise for my powers of invisibility to flow.
Kids like the idea of invisible powers, but as children become adults, it’s easy to put aside imagination and wonder, merely focusing on what can be seen with the eye. This, however, is not the call of faith. We read the following in Hebrews 11:
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. (ESV*)
Two thousand years ago, there were people who chose to have faith in things they could not prove with their eyes. Here are just a few acts of faith surrounding the birth of Christ:
- Mary believed the angel who told her she would conceive a child without sexual intimacy.
- Joseph believed the angel who told him that Mary had become pregnant through no act of infidelity.
- The shepherds believed that the baby in the manger was God come to bring peace on earth.
- The Magi followed a star in the sky, having faith that it would lead them to the promised King.
- The wise men heeded the dream that told them King Herod would, indeed, try to kill Jesus.
- When Jesus was presented in the temple at eight days old, Simeon had faith that the redemption of Israel had come.
- Joseph, responding to the angel’s warning, escaped to Egypt with Mary and Jesus until Herod died.
As we light the second candle of Advent, the same invitation of faith is extended to us. We choose to have faith that Jesus is God in human form. We choose to have faith that he came as a baby, became a man, died and rose for our sins, and is coming again. It is by faith that we enter the kingdom of God.
This year, I give thanks for the invisible gifts in my life. For Faith, for Hope, for Love. What are the invisible gifts in your life? What are the promises of God that you choose to have faith in this Christmas? Please share below.
Written by Heidi Sadler. © 2015, Heidi Sadler, All Rights Reserved. *The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®) Copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. All rights reserved. ESV Text Edition: 2011