The second week of advent is quickly coming to a close. And despite no real change of schedule, I find myself anxious and stressed. My groups have paused their meetings for “Christmas break.” My oldest has one more week before she has a break from school. I have most gifts already purchased and wrapped, hiding in my closet so my daughters don’t decide to open them as readily as they open the candy canes that were hanging on the tree (notice that is past tense. They have since been removed to keep my children from eating them all.) In all typical aspects of preparation, I’m ahead of the game and yet, I don’t feel ready. I don’t feel the hope of the season resonating within me. I don’t feel the excessive joy that should accompany this time of year. But I have faith.
The focus of the second week of advent is traditionally faith. Faith in the coming of a King, a Savior to the world. Faith in the promises that were fulfilled prior to the birth of Jesus, including the birth of the messenger who would lead the way for Jesus’ ministry (his cousin, John the Baptist).
For me, that faith resides in the promise that what I believe is so much more than a feeling. The faith that this belief changes lives each and every day. A faith that doesn’t need tangible evidence for me to accept it as truth.
When I’m anxious or stressed, it’s challenging to “feel” like having joy and sharing the love of God. When I find myself overwhelmed by nothing (and everything), it’s challenging to “feel” the presence of God around me. Because I feel tired and exhausted. I feel drained. What I don’t feel is faith.
Faith is so much more than a feeling. It is a lifestyle. It’s how I approach my daily life despite how I feel. It’s taking myself out of the number one position and allowing God to direct me throughout my day–often through experiences I would have missed on my own merit.
Hebrews 11:1 tells us that “faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain in what we do not see.” Just as the first week of advent is focused on hope (that hope in the coming of a Savior), week two’s focus on faith is grounded in that hope.
I can’t give you Jesus’ facebook account for you to stealthily stalk Him before you decide to accept Him at His word. I can’t take you out to lunch to arrange a mutual meeting. He is with us through the Holy Spirit and He is not a physical being that can be proven by sight or physical touch. He is like the wind. You can not see the wind, but you see the affects of the wind and that is proof of it’s validity. Likewise, Holy Spirit works in and through us everyday that “people are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20). He makes Himself known, but we still must exhibit faith. We must cling to the faith that tells us that because we know and have accepted Jesus as our Savior, acknowledging the work that was done on the cross for all of our sake, we are redeemed and sanctified. We will spend eternity glorifying the one who made a way for us. Who created that way for us, knowing all that we would do against Him. He is so faithful to us and He simply asks us to be faithful to Him.
So if you are like me and feeling all of the stress of the season as opposed to the wonder, have faith. Have faith that the one we are celebrating is worthy of all of our praise. Have faith that there is so much more than “feeling it.” Have faith that in those times when you aren’t “feeling it,” He is always faithful.