More than a Party Favor

Reading Time: 4 mins

Show me your righteousness, we can only point to Jesus

‘Tis the season of parties. If your social calendar is like mine, the next few weeks will have at least one, if not a few parties to attend. Office parties, family get-togethers, classroom celebrations, and community events are all vying for a coveted spot on the calendar. Perhaps you may have to choose which to attend and decline. Perhaps that decision depends on the available party favors. Whether it is candy or cookies, fudge or flowers, the favors of the party might drive your desire to attend, but more than likely, the party favors are not anything of great value.

Of course, the word favor can mean many things: party favors, personal favors, or one who is looked upon with favor. At some point this season, you may attend a party where the favor is mistletoe hanging from a doorway or the ceiling. For some, mistletoe is a welcome holiday tradition; for others, it must be avoided at all costs. But a moment under the mistletoe can bring hope, anticipation, and the possibility of love…or at least a kiss and the favor of another.

In the 85th Psalm, the psalmist remembers the favor shown by God to those in the past, asks for favor in the present, and waits for the favor of God to come soon; a good Psalm for Advent.

Read Psalm 85 here:

In the 85th Psalm, the Psalmist calls the reader to:

  • Acknowledge the Past
  • Question the Present
  • Anticipate the Future

The first three verses of the Psalm remember the favor God showed in the past to the people of Israel. Forgiveness and atonement were provided by a God who rescued the people from slavery in Egypt, redeemed the people from disobedience, and returned a remnant to the land after exile.

The first three verses of the Psalm remember the favor God showed in the past to the people of Israel.

We, too, have seen the favor of God poured out in the past:

  • We remember our baptism, our personal day of favor, the day we were rescued from sin, claimed as a child of God, and covered by Jesus.
  • We remember the beautiful words of redemption, “Your sins are forgiven.”
  • We remember these words, “broken and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.”

The next four verses of the Psalm focus on the present. We still need favor because we often go our own way even as we desire to be a favored child of God.

  • Have you ever asked God for restoration, restoration of health or a broken relationship?
  • Have you ever questioned whether God will be angry with you forever?
  • Have you ever questioned why things are so bad in your life right now?

Often in scripture, it is God’s law questioning us. The law says, “Show me your righteousness.” And we struggle to answer the call. We pray with the Psalmist, “Show us your unfailing love, Lord, and grant us your salvation” (v.7). As the psalmist encourages us to anticipate the future, we can’t help but remember the promises of God. From verse 8, “I will listen to what God the Lord will say; he promises peace to his people, his saints.”

In the season of Advent, we not only remember the Prince of Peace, who was born in a stable, but we look forward to the true and lasting peace that will come when Jesus returns and calls His saints to heaven with Him.

But to answer the question, “Show me your righteousness,” we must go back to the favor of God. When God asks, “Show me your righteousness,” we can only point to Jesus. He is the favor of God. He is God’s own Son. Only in Jesus do we find favor with God. He is more than just a worthless or cheap party favor; He is the unfailing love of God who brings steadfast love and favor to all His children. He is the best party favor anyone could ever imagine.

When God asks, “Show me your righteousness,” we can only point to Jesus.

I think we catch a glimpse of Jesus, the favor of God, in verse 10. “Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other.”

Favor is found where love and faithfulness meet, where righteousness and peace kiss, in the babe of Bethlehem. It is not found under a sprig of mistletoe or in our own inept actions. God’s favor is Jesus! God was not simply doing us a favor by sending Jesus; He was keeping a promise one fulfilled in the birth of Christ.

God’s favor is Jesus! 

 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” (Luke 1:26-28)

Favor is found in the baby growing in Mary’s womb. And nine months later, in the backwater town of Bethlehem, the angels announced to the Shepherds, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

The favor of God comes to you today, for in Jesus, love and faithfulness meet, righteousness and peace kiss. The favor of God comes as we are gathered under the cross, not under the mistletoe.

Here the kiss of peace takes place. Under the cross, you experience the favor of God. At the cross, Jesus restores your fortunes, forgives your iniquity, and covers your sins. God’s wrath has been set aside, and you have been forgiven and restored.

Here the kiss of peace takes place. Under the cross, you experience the favor of God.

God’s unfailing love and salvation were secured and guaranteed through the open tomb where Jesus gave us His righteousness. Standing under the cross brings hope, anticipation, and the certainty of love, the kiss of peace and favor with God.

We live under the cross this Advent as we anticipate the coming of God’s favor once again. And while we wait, we can give a kiss of peace to our neighbors and share the favor of God, for in Christ you have seen love and faithfulness meet, you have experienced righteousness and peace kiss, in Jesus, the babe of Bethlehem, your savior.