December 25, 2017
The celebration of Christmas is actually the celebration of God’s promises given long ago, and contained in His Word. One of God’s promises that was fulfilled at the first Christmas was in regard to the town of Bethlehem. Micah 5:2-3, “O Bethlehem Ephrathah, you are but a small Judean village, yet you will be the birthplace of my King who is alive from everlasting ages past!” That promise was written seven hundred years before Christ’s birth in Bethlehem. The wise men knew this promise and came to Bethlehem to see the Christ child. Consider what are the chances that Mary and Joseph would end up in Bethlehem since neither of them had any connection to that city, except Joseph’s heritage as a distant member of King David’s family. No, this was no accident or strange set of circumstances coming together, this was the fulfillment of God’s promise.
Another Christmas promise written seven hundred years before it was fulfilled, was spoken by the prophet Isaiah. “The Lord himself will choose the sign and a child shall be born to a virgin. And she shall call him Immanuel (which means God with us.)” Think of it, there has never been another birth like that of Jesus birth. Mary was chosen as a young Jewish girl to give birth to the Messiah in fulfillment of this Christmas promise.
The best promise of Christmas can actually be found in many passages of scripture, but listen to the apostle Paul speaking about how the coming of Jesus fulfilled an even older promise of God. Galatians 3:16-18, “God gave the promises to Abraham and his child. And notice that the Scripture doesn’t say “to his children,” as if it meant many descendants. Rather, it says “to his child”—and that, of course, means Christ. This is what I am trying to say: The agreement God made with Abraham could not be canceled 430 years later when God gave the law to Moses. God would be breaking his promise. For if the inheritance could be received by keeping the law, then it would not be the result of accepting God’s promise. But God graciously gave it to Abraham as a promise.” II Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” God promised David in II Sam 7:12-13 that his descendant’s kingdom would be greater than his. “When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.” Jesus was the fulfillment of this promise to David, just as he fulfilled the promise to Abraham.
In speaking of the Abrahamic promise, Paul was telling us that God would redeem His people, and that in doing so all the people of the earth would be blessed. Paul then points to the ultimate promise, the promise of salvation. “So, are God’s laws and God’s promises against each other? Of course not! If we could be saved by his laws, then God would not have had to give us a different way to get out of the grip of sin, for the Scriptures insist that we are all sinners. The only way out is through faith in Jesus Christ; and the way of escape is open to all who believe in Him,” Galatians 3:21. To receive the salvation promised by God a person must only believe what God promised and by faith accept His offer of salvation. I John 5:13, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.“
If Christmas is a celebration of the promises of God fulfilled, then we must do more than speak of the baby in the manger, the shepherds awe at the angelic announcement, or the journey of the wise men. This sinful world needs hope, and that hope is found only in the promise that Jesus fulfilled through his birth, life, death on the cross, and resurrection from the grave. May we faithfully share the “Good News” that through Jesus we have salvation from sin and the promise of eternal life in heaven with Him. As you enjoy this Christmas together with your family, take time to thank God for the promises of Christmas and celebrate God’s marvelous fulfillment of each promise in your life.
May God bless you and your family on this Christmas day.