My almost 4-year-old granddaughter, Leah, really loves a video of a group singing "O Come, All Ye Faithful." But rather than saying that whole phrase, Leah simply says "I want to see Faithful." Then her Meemaw (her name for Marsha) pulls up that video on her iPad so that Leah can “see Faithful.”
While her comment about "seeing faithful" is cute, it also reminds me that this is probably God's request, too. In addition to proclaiming our faith, singing about our faith, or even describing our faith in theological language, it seems likely that what God really desires is to see our faith in action. I imagine God observing our Christmas celebrations and our singing Christmas carols about faith in Jesus, and then I imagine God saying, “I want to see faithful.” My imagination goes there because of the prophet Amos, who quotes God as saying, “I hate your feasts and your celebrations” (because those celebrations did not lead to justice and mercy). I also read the prophet Micah who says, “You know what the Lord requires of you: do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.” The whole witness of the prophets is not just a preparation for the coming of Christ, rather it is a witness to the desire of God to see our faithfulness bring results. Big celebrations and even lovely Christmas Eve services probably don’t impress God as much as when God sees us living faithfully in the ways we interact with one another, including those who are strangers and even enemies. God wants to “see faithful” – as little Leah expresses it.
So I pray that we all enjoy a lovely and meaningful Christmas. I am not being “ba humbug” about that. But I also pray that all of our adoration of baby Jesus leads us to a deeper devotion to the adult Jesus who taught us to be faithful in ways that go much deeper. We are called to be agents of reconciliation and peace in the world. We are called to offer forgiveness and mercy without keeping score of how we have been wronged. We are challenged to seek the Kingdom of God in all that we do. We are invited to be living reminders of the presence of Christ.
And so I paraphrase what Leah says: I want to see us being faithful.