DAVAO

Tan: Advent Faith

Straight from the heart

“You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said” Luke 1:45 (NLT)

AS WE officially enter the long Christmas celebration here in the Philippines, we need to pause so we can set our focus and celebrate Christmas in faith. Admittedly, our faith is small...easily drowned by the current of fears and worries. It is no wonder we avoid “dead spots” in life. For a broadcaster, dead spots are a no-no in radio. That void is an anathema to the mass media's religion.

Frankly, those dead spots in life are undesirable because it “forces” us to look inside. What's inside is the main issue of living and dying.

Faith sees the bigger picture beyond ourselves and understands the issues bigger than our own. It’s not just about us; it’s about God's love for all men. It’s about God's son becoming man to save us from our sins. It’s about faith to believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. It’s about answering God's invitation to trust His Son and join the many others who believe!

Advent Faith helps us see what's inside. Along with our courageous stop, we also need honesty. With these, we can humbly admit our little faith in GOD. As Pope Francis would say...”celebrate Christmas in faith, defend it from superstitions, and defend faith from moralising and theologizing...”

As a Baptist minister, I find those words timely words for the churches which are celebrating the advent like pagans. What can be more spiritually draining than to celebrate Christ’s birth without faith?

The words of Elizabeth to Mary are a timely reminder of advent faith. Advent faith believes in the purposes of God. When we claim the truth that with God nothing is impossible, let us always connect that with the perfect purposes of God. To disconnect Faith from the purposes of God is to celebrate Christmas with false faith. Consequently, false faith fuels more frustrations! “Faith” is believing that God will do what is right in His own eyes!

Advent Faith is awakened by the Spirit; it is focused on JESUS and is pleasing to the Father. Christmas is all about Christ...not family, not fulfilment of our personal dreams. It’s about receiving God's gift of Salvation. We receive it by faith in Christ! Though salvation is good news, the real good news is Jesus! Let us welcome and worship the Lord this season. Believe and keep believing that GOD's purposes are perfect.

Keep asking that God will help us overcome unbelief and that our little faith may grow strong and steady in Christ. Prayerfully, let faith in Christ be the liberating guide of whatever we do in this joyful season of Christmas. As you attend Simbang Gabi or Christmas Cantatas, in our church, Davao Chinese Baptist Church, we have our Dawn Christmas Worship Services (Dec. 21-25 5am to 6am). As we all connect with our various religious communities, let us remember to exercise faith in Christ!

Straight from my heart I pray as I write...“LORD, I BELIEVE, HELP MY UNBELIEF” Amen.


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