Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A New Look at an Old Story

Yeah, I know I've talked about faith already this week, but it's my blog, so here we go.

As the saying goes, Jesus is the reason for the season, and I wholeheartedly agree. But there's more to the story than just the birth of the Savior. It is also a story of faith rewarded.

Before Jesus was born, there were any number of people who claimed to know who the Messiah was or claimed to be the Messiah. These claims were obviously false, but over time, it would be easy to get skeptical. It would have to take one heck of a leap of faith to believe in a living Messiah at that time.

Then, God set things in motion, first with Mary. Her exact age isn't known, but most likely she was around 13 or 14 years old, not too much older than your typical mallrat today. She was already set to be married to Joseph, and she understood her duties as a wife. Then, on top of that, she was tapped by God to carry the Messiah. That duty would have floored most people, let alone a girl just entering womanhood. Mary had to be strong in faith to shoulder that responsibility.

Joseph was in a similar boat. He was a carpenter with a pregnant wife, a wife that was carrying the Messiah prophesied by his predecessors. And he would have either known of or heard about the false prophets and false Messiahs, so he needed something else to truly understand the gravity of the situation. He needed faith.

What about the three wise men? They were certainly men of great knowledge, so the bar would be set very high for them to believe that the Messiah had come. When they were told of the star in the East, it may have been curiosity that set them on their path, but it was faith that kept their feet on it.

The shepherds who were told by the angels of Jesus's coming were scared, which is understandable. Usually, God doesn't send His people to talk to you about the weather. When He sends angels, it's pretty important. Once the fear had passed, they had to have faith to follow the angels' directions to find their Messiah.

All of these people from the Christmas story, all tied together by an incredible level of faith necessary to play their roles in the birth of man's Savior. Even as a believer, I'm amazed at the amount of faith displayed and wonder if anyone today could duplciate the feat. Whether we can is not important. The Savior being born is what matters. Yet, without strong faith assisting each person involved in that birth, the story would not be the same.

May God fill your hearts with an unwavering faith this Christmas and for years to come. Merry Christmas everybody!

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