I still have two young daughters at home. They are 7 and 10 years old. Being a parent can put you in some tricky spots. Last night, I found myself in one of those tricky spots. The topic of conversation with our kids had turned to a popular one this time of year: Santa. The girls started asking questions, and my wife was doing her best to answer them. I have learned that any question about Santa will immediately be followed by another, no matter how well you answer the previous query. This line of questioning ended with my daughter asking me, “Dad, do you believe in Santa Claus?”
I did my best to answer. However, I saw it as a golden opportunity to reteach them what Christmas really is about. I explained that the most important thing was to believe in God and the birth of his son, Jesus. Yes, I dodged the original question and answered one they had not asked. I thought it was important to take every chance I get to explain that Christmas is an invitation to faith.
After our conversation, I thought more about Mary and Joseph. They both wound up in tricky spots. She was pregnant with no reasonable explanation how that came to be, and he was asked to hang around even if it caused him public humiliation. We read about this in Luke 1 and Matthew 1.
Luke 1:29-33 (NIV)
29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
Matthew 1:20-21 (NIV)
20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
Joseph and Mary were both asked to do what my daughter asked of me: to believe. God asked them to have faith that amazing things would come through this baby that was to be born. Thankfully, they both responded in faith, despite any hardship that it would cause them.
That is what we should be doing during this season of Advent and Christmas. We should be preparing to faithfully believe in God’s redeeming work through the birth of the Christ-child. What a wonderful thing to believe in!