Within the narrative we read in Scripture concerning Jesus' birth and its aftermath, and the circumstances surrounding that, we can see numerous instances where people by and large probably lost out in the blessing they could have received by simple faith. Within this group we could include the friends and relatives of Joseph and Mary in the community of Nazareth. Sure, it was highly unusual, what God was doing, as well as his word at that time. But evidently, the people were not open enough to be able to hear and receive by faith the word of God that had been communicated both to Mary and Joseph. And maybe it was not in God's will at the time to make this known openly, either. Just as Jesus was careful about revealing who he was, knowing the people were not ready for it, and would simply want to use it for their own reasons.
Then there are the likes of Herod, as well as the Herodians- and others, whose personal kingdoms could be threatened by what they had learned from the Magi travelling to see the one who had been born, "king of the Jews". Unbelief is not only limiting God, but it is refusing God to be God, not wanting his will to be done if it conflicts with one's own will and agenda.
Are we open to God's word in our lives, no matter what circumstances and difficulties we may be facing? Are we open like Mary to God's ways, which may not be anything we know at the time? And are we choosing God's will over our own, whatever that means? Not just saying that, but living that out as well, according to God's revelation given to us in Scripture.
I am so easily caught up in anxiety, though such attacks seem rare anymore. But just very recently I've been hit again. I want to respond to this in a way in which I can grow, as whatever might be holding me back from faith is exposed so it can be repented of. As well as wanting to trust God no matter what, and believe in God's goodness in it all. I want to be taken up with Jesus and his coming into the world, and living in that.
Let us be among those who could gather around the manger in true worship, adoration and contemplation, along with pondering all this in our hearts- not missing the meaning and wonder of Advent because of unbelief.