I suppose everyone’s tired of Christmas by now. Maybe no one wants to hear me ramble on about Christmas one more time. “Christmas is over,” you’re all saying. “Move on with your life.” But this post isn’t strictly about Christmas, so here goes.
(Actually: I wrote this post on Christmas morning and never got around to publishing it. So here is a revised version for your enjoyment. 🙂 )
Christmas is the day that we celebrate a promise fulfilled. Lots of promises fulfilled, actually. Christmas is the day God came through.
The story started in The Garden. Everything was perfect. It was paradise. God gave His people one command (not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil) and they disobeyed. Man failed, and sin entered the world.
God gave us a promise. Speaking to the snake, He said, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall crush you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel” (Genesis 3:15).
God’s people waited for that promise to be fulfilled for centuries. Throughout the whole time, the story was always the same: God gave His people commandments, God reached out to His people in love, God desired to bless His people… and His people failed. Every time.
But God remained faithful.
God made more promises. He promised to bless all nations through Abraham. He promised David that an everlasting king would come from his line. He made promise after promise after promise.
And did the people believe? Sometimes. But most of the time, they were more interested in themselves than in their God.
God sent priests and prophets, kings and leaders. He sent signs and visions, miracles and messages. But the people’s hearts were hardened by sin.
So God was silent.
For 400 years.
And then He sent His Son.
What we think of as Jesus’ birthday was really the fulfillment of promises that Israel had awaited for over hundreds and thousands of years.
After 400 years of silence, the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14).
After 400 years of people groping about in darkness, the Light of the world was born (John 8:12, Isaiah 9:2).
After 400 years of lies, the Truth was born (John 14:6).
After 400 years–actually, after millennia–of people trying to appease God with sacrifices and offerings, the Way was born (John 14:6, Hebrews 7:27).
Sending Jesus wasn’t simply an idea that suddenly popped into God’s head. God had planned it from before the foundation of the world. He had promised it to humans soon after their creation. He kept promising.
And then He came through.
Something struck me when I was reading the Christmas accounts in both Matthew and Luke. Both Mary and Zachariah sing songs of praise to God. Take a look at what Mary says in Luke 1:54-55—
“He has given help to Israel His servant,
In remembrance of His mercy,
As He spoke to our fathers,
To Abraham and his descendants forever.”
And now read what Zachariah says in Luke 1:62-75—
“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
For He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people,
And has raised up a horn of salvation for us
In the house of David His servant—
As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from of old—
Salvation from our enemies,
And from the hand of all who hate us;
To show mercy toward our fathers,
And to remember His holy covenant,
The oath which He swore to Abraham our father,
To grant us that we, being rescued from the hand of our enemies,
Might serve Him without fear,
In holiness and righteousness before Him all our days.”
Do you see how both of them dwell on God having fulfilled His promise? He had finally sent His promised One! The One promised to Eve, and Abraham, and David, and all God’s people, thousands of years before.
Christmas is God showing Himself faithful. Christmas is God fulfilling His promise(s) to His people. Christmas is God loving His people even when they had been rejecting Him for generations.
But even though people are unfaithful, God is faithful. As it says in Joshua 21:45, “Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.” And that’s what happened on Christmas… God fulfilled His promise.
So praise God for Jesus! Thank Him for fulfilling His promise! Because the fulfillment of that promise means that, finally, we can be saved from our sin. It means that we can have a very real hope of heaven.
But, as Christians, we have another very real hope, another very real promise. But this promise isn’t at the beginning of the Bible, and it hasn’t been fulfilled……… yet.
He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. (Revelation 22:20)
This is the promise God’s people wait for today. This is the promise we anticipate so eagerly. This is the promise we hope towards, the one we long for, the one we want so badly to be fulfilled.
While I’ll confess to not often earnestly awaiting the fulfillment of this promise, I want to be desiring the fulfillment of this promise like Mary and Zachariah were waiting for Jesus at His first coming. Because when Jesus comes the second time, it will be to wipe every tear from the eyes of those who’ve trusted Him. It will be to bring His redeemed home. What great promises our God makes!
God is faithful, and He fulfills His promises. He always has, and He always will. And that’s why we have hope. Hope both for the past, and for the future… and for today.
Merry Christmas everyone! And may we earnestly anticipate the fulfillment of all God’s great and precious promises!
I hope everyone had a super blessed and fantastic Christmas! Would you like to tell me about it? Comment below! 🙂