The word “believe” is seen on billboards and bumper-stickers. It is a slogan for city rejuvenation and youth empowerment. It is used in lyrics of old love songs (“Then I saw her face, now I’m a believer!). However, I believe it is best expressed in the meaning of a relationship between God and people. A teenage girl was visited by an angel long ago and told some pretty amazing news: “now you will conceive in your womb and bear a son and you will name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.” (Luke 1:31) Mary believed, even though she was a virgin, even though she was not married, even though she was poor and from a lowly family. When Mary visited Elizabeth, her aged cousin who was also pregnant with an unbelievable baby, she exclaims to Mary: “And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.” (Luke 1:45)
Every day the good Lord makes promises to you and to me. Some of them are pretty unbelievable. God is always working for good, doing impossible things through unlikely people. Yet we humans tend to get fixated on the negative and won’t believe what God is promising to do, despite the evidence. Mary had many fine attributes but her greatest one was her ability to believe where she could not see. That is the meaning of faith. What is God promising to you that you will not believe? Put away doubt, fear, and cynicism and believe. A believing heart is precious to God, not only at Christmas but for all time.