God, give me a faith that reaches beyond my temporary comfort
Published 7:40 pm Thursday, December 8, 2022
By Kyle Miller
This time of the year is probably my favorite. As a Texas transplant, I love the cooler temperatures and autumn weather that eludes most Texans, but I also enjoy Christmas festivities. My beautiful and creative wife handles the orchestration of Christmas decorating around our home, so our home is Christmas from end-to-end.
I also enjoy viewing the ways families choose to decorate their homes, yards, cars, and pets. Our family has always enjoyed driving around and enjoying the festive holiday décor around us. One of our neighbors managed to pull off a massive silhouette of the Bethlehem manger scene that really caught my eye. The 15-foot shadow is impressive, even from a long distance.
As I think about Christmas and the arrival of Jesus in Bethlehem many years ago, I find my attention this year is drawn toward the faith of Mary, mother of Jesus.
Scripture tells us that Mary was presented with an incredible yet difficult scenario. She—a young, unwed virgin—would become pregnant through extraordinary means.
In a society where childbirth out of wedlock was considered scandalous, she would not have been received kindly by neither family nor friends, not to mention others. Joseph too would have also been impacted. He was legally obligated to wed Mary, but they were not married yet. Even though what was going to happen would be of inexplicable means, society would have seen the birth of a child as the fruit of infidelity.
Most of us have heard the stories of how the angel Gabriel visited with both Mary and Joseph individually to inform them of the supernatural nature of this birth. Joseph complied with God’s plan, but Mary’s response was much bolder. She proclaimed, “I am the Lord’s servant…May it be to me as you have said.” (Luke 1:38, NIV84) We do not know everything that may have gone through Mary’s mind during the exchange with the angel, but she certainly sized-up some of the consequences of this baby’s arrival. She could have argued and complained, but she didn’t. She humbly submitted. Mary expressed a faith in God that reached beyond her temporary comfort. Her example is striking.
I’ll be the first to admit that a life of Christian faith is not easy. Even as I write this article, I watch our government legally rejects eternal biblical principles for temporary philosophical agendas. As Christians, it can be difficult to stand on biblical truth when society declares it as outdated or irrelevant. Fallen society will always reject the truth of Scripture. Jesus never promised that a life of faith would be easy. In fact, Jesus let potential followers know that following him would come at a great personal cost. (Read Luke 9: 57-62 for details). Yet, throughout the years many continue to follow him faithfully. Why would a person choose this life? Perhaps, like Mary, believers understand that their faith has value that extends well-beyond their temporary comforts.
As we celebrate and reflect on this Christmas season, it is my personal prayer that our faith in God would be encouraged and strengthened. May the Church, the body of Christ, be bold and courageous in the face of all adversity. May our prayer be, “God, Give me a faith that reaches beyond my temporary comfort.”
Kyle Miller is the senior pastor at Washington Assembly of God church.