(Below is a version of an Advent piece I wrote for my church)

Growing up, we often come to the table of faith with preconceived notions of God in our heads. I pictured him resembling Gandalf from Lord of the Rings, complete with a long flowing beard and walking staff. Other people pictured him as a kindly father, graciously delighting in his children. Others might have looked upon God with a more negative image, as a grumpy old man or someone far worse.

The psalmist in Psalm 54 (and elsewhere)  saw the wickedness in the world and could not look anywhere else but to God. Even though he was surrounded by his enemies and had fallen into despair, he knew that his only hope was in God. Though he was poor and needy, he found solace in God because it was the only place he could have turned. the-return-of-the-prodigal-son-rembrandt-van-rijn

We in Christ must also cling to our faithful Father with the same tenacity as the psalmist. And it is in this reliance on God that we have the grace and room to give to our community. In Matthew 25:14-30, we find the two diligent workers and the one not so diligent worker. While the first two were congratulated and praised for their faithfulness in a “few things,” the last worker was rejected. Did you catch the worker’s excuse? It was his belief that the Master was a harsh man and thus did not trade it for more.

I wonder how our view of God might affect our ability to live out the transformation that came about through the Gospel. Even the view of a Gandalf in the sky can cause a different view of our lives here and now. Instead of looking to the Lamb who was slain and clinging onto the hope that is tied to Him, we might choose to live in fear. Instead of giving generously in light of the Lamb, we hold onto our lives with a clenched fist, believing the lie that God is harsh.

God is love, and He cared for us so much that He walked on this Earth. Let us also walk in the steps of the Messiah this season and beyond.

What was your picture of God as a child?