Faith is More than a Wishlist
by Hiram Claudio 12/20/2010 / Holidays
At Christmas, so many words become prevalent in our vocabulary. Words like "joy" and "peace" and "hope" consistently find their way into our holiday conversations. Because of this, these words tend to lose their emphasis. They become seasonal phrases that get put away with the lights after New Years. I'd like to take a look at another common word often used this time of year. During a season that is often called the "season of miracles," when everyone is encouraged to "believe," I'd like to take a look at the whole idea of "faith!"
During the Christmas season, even the most pessimistic of people loosens up! People in general seem more giving, friendlier, and overall just nicer. Additionally, during this time, people seem more able (or willing) to "believe" in things. People are more inclined to believe the best in and about others. Children diligently put together their gift lists and earnestly "believe" for all the things on it. Unfortunately, this holiday wishing and hoping gets called "having faith" when it is nothing of the sort.
In the 11th chapter of the book of Hebrews, the writer states "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." He then goes on to give examples of various godly people who distinguished themselves because of their faith. If we are going to be able to separate truth from seasonal culture, we need to focus on what real faith actually is.
We start with what it's not! Faith is not expecting something to happen because you've convinced yourself it would. It is not a mind game. Faith requires a foundation, something on which to base it. Many base their faith on the simple passage of time. They'll say, "I have faith that tomorrow will be a better day." Why, because it's a different day? What we are really saying is that we "hope" it's a better day. Faith is so much more than this.
We need to be real sure about what we place as the foundation of our faith. Faith in the "holiday season" won't cut it. Faith in everyone having the Christmas spirit won't do either. The only true foundation for our faith is the baby in the manger that we celebratein Jesus Christ! In Luke 2:25-32, we see a man, named Simeon, who trusted in the coming Messiah. The scripture calls him a "righteous and devout man." He had faith in God and was rewarded by a promise that he would see the promised One before he died. His faith truly ruled his life.
True faith is not a seasonal exercise. It is not something that gets dusted off after Thanksgiving like many of our Christmas decorations. It is a conviction that we live with each day. Our faith is also more than just an emotional wish list. It is a belief and a commitment that Jesus is the Lord of all, a conviction that guides and directs every attitude we have.
Let this Christmas season be an opportunity to reaffirm our faith in Jesus Christ. He came as a baby, lived a holy life, suffered and died for our sins, and rose from the dead to give us the power to live an overcoming life. Our faith in Him is not based on "getting what we want" nor is it tied to everything going just right. We believe in Him because He is the Christ. And as Simeon showed us, He is well worth waiting for!
Hiram Claudio is a minister and bible teacher who has traveled to 8 nations spreading the Good News of faith in Christ and victory through His name. He is married (for 29 years). He and his wife live in New York and have two sons.