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The scenes we usually portray with glowing light and pure mirth and happiness must have really contained so much ambivalence…

Zachariah finally gets what he prayed for decades ago… but can’t speak until his baby boy finally arrives and he gets to demonstrate his faith.

Mary faces down terror and the ridicule of her neighbors… And those first nights after the angel came, did she lay awake at night, wondering when the power of the Most High would overshadow her? Did she tremble as she imagined… waiting for the Holy Spirit to come upon her?

Joseph gets an “illegitimate” child along with his new wife… and spends a nerve-wracking night as her only support during childbirth.

People who’ve been waiting half-a-century finally catch the first infant glimpse of the stuff of their dreams.

Terror, pain, endurance, suffering, uncertainty – these were the emotions of the first Christmas.

And in the midst of it all, the one redeeming factor for everyone involved was that they believed in what they could not see. They had faith despite the fear. Trust in a promise decades or centuries old. Waited, waited, waited – even when hope had grown cold. Obeyed – even when they staggered under the pain of ridicule.

And then… The blessing. The fulfillment. The Promise. Hope rewarded. Endurance redeemed.

… blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” Luke 1:45

Oh Abba, give me the eyes of faith to see; the patience of faith to wait; the strength of faith to endure.