‘Faith is the gaze of a soul upon a saving God.’ ~ A.W. Tower
It’s the day after.
We have just celebrated the babe in a manger. The innocent frailty of God lying in a feed trough with some rags wrapped around him. The waft of manure and the weariness of a very young mother fill the stable.
Yet, here too is, Emmanuel, God with us. He is the Great I AM. He is the fulfillment of the prophecies in tiny infant form. Wonderful Counselor. Mighty God. Everlasting Father. Prince of Peace.
And so, we must gaze upon the babe.
Because we know his life story, we have the benefit of gazing upon the shepherd of the people as we read his teaching in the Sermon on the Mount. We can picture the healer’s hand upon the diseased. We can look to the man upon a mountain, praying through the night. We can smile at the one who puts the proud in their place. And we are pierced when we imagine the bloody and beaten Savior hanging upon a tree.
But, it is the babe, and gazing upon him, that has much to offer us in our overseas’ journey.
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.
If we are anything alike, you and I embark upon our journey overseas like babies. Whether it’s the innocence filled with hope of opportunity to make a difference. Or the literal ways our tongues function as we attempt to learn a new language. And then there’s the helplessness when we have absolutely no idea how to live in this strange new world.
And so we gaze upon the babe.
The God-man leaves eternal privileges beyond imagining. He enters the world with a clear mission and calling. But, he enters as a baby. He is frail and helpless. He must learn to talk and walk. He must listen to his parents until his time comes.
Through all of it, he must learn to commune with his Father who is far away in Heaven. To find the nourishment of soul to fulfill his mission.
And so we gaze upon the babe.
He reminds us what hope looks like. It is fragile and vulnerable. Evil men will not spare its life. Jealous men will not allow it to grow. All the others will fail to understand it. Yet, hope will prevail.
Because the imagination and power of God brought a perfect world into existence. And when it became distorted, corrupted beyond recognizing, God came down to redeem it all. It’s the crazy ways of fairy tales and dreams.
And so, again, we gaze upon the babe.
Looking upon his face, we can’t hide our lack of faith. Our strength has no place. We must recognize our frailty and vulnerability. There are no excuses for our lack. Either we believe this tiny infant embodies all of the possibilities of the full restoration of our world, or we don’t.
It is only as we linger upon the small baby-shaped wonder that we can prepare for what lies ahead. It is only as we indulge in the sweet peace of eyes closed in sleep, little heart beating even as the world is in the turmoil of political unrest and corrupt leadership, that we can receive the gift. In remaining here, we shed our layers of self-reliance, competence, cynicism, fear and striving.
And soon, if we truly gaze even reaching out our hand to touch baby skin, there is a simiar softness of heart in us. We find renewed trust in a plan made by our Father before time began. We are ready to learn the simplest of things and be thankful to do so. We have a yearning to commune with the One who made us. No matter what comes, we are ready to choose again and again the mission given to us.
And so, we can never gaze enough upon the babe.
May this find you in a blessed Christmas season. And may the hopes and fears of all your years be met in him.
Dear friend, are you ready to gaze, to linger in the stark reality of God? What holds you back from knowing the hope of the babe?
- photo credit – Gino Santa Maria via fotolia.com