As a part of our Advent observances at Grace, we are making use of Concordia Publishing’s Behold the Child materials for worship. Our web devotions through Christmas will be guided by Pastor Kevin Golden’s devotional booklet written in support of the Behold the Child theme (you may purchase a downloadable copy of Pr. Golden’s book by following this link).
For confidence in God in all of life
For your plans to be rooted in God’s purposes for you
Text: Psalm 146:6
Your confidence is in Christ’s faithfulness, not your own. –Pr. Golden
THERE HAS BEEN A SHIFT in the way that we talk about faith over the last one hundred years. As we think more and more of ourselves as individuals with our own particular tastes, desires and goals, we tell ourselves and teach each other that believing is more important or more necessary than what we believe. It is enough that we have faith, that we believe...in something, and we won’t dig too deeply at what is believed, because the object of our belief is intensely personal, addressing our all-important identity.
A lighthearted example of our idea of belief is found in that other famous Peanuts special, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Linus, the gang’s amateur theologian, is certain that there is a Great Pumpkin who comes on Halloween to bring toys to good children. Challenged to abandon his belief by Charlie Brown, Linus retorts “when you stop believing in that fellow with a red suit and the white beard who goes, "Ho, ho, ho!” Charlie Brown can only sigh and chalk up the conflict to denominational differences. By the end of the show, Linus has missed out on the fun of Halloween, spending a cold, bitter night in a pumpkin patch notable only for its “sincerity.” Linus believes, but the object of his faith is fallible—he is fortunate that acting on faith in such an idol is no more disastrous than a single cold, sleepless night.
The Christian message is not so much about the depth of our faith, but clarity about faith’s object. God comes to us, makes us a promise, gives to us gifts that show his faithfulness. It is not about our sincerity at all; when our faith is faltering, the antidote is to take hold of our Lord, whose strength, whose steadfastness, whose care is the rock on which to build a life.
May you live in Advent hope ~ Pr. Dave Brooks
--Quoted materials are from Behold the Child Daily Devotions #12-4563
© 2019 Concordia Publishing House. Used with permission under license 20:12-1. www.cph.org