December 2, 2019
In regard to promises, blogger Jason Slaton said, “Promises, kept or not, build or break trust in human relationships. They are necessary because they allow us to feel secure, and to avoid situations or people that do not make us feel secure. If someone keeps a promise, they form a bond with the other person; while if that same person breaks the promise, they break the bond of trust in their relationship and they can be avoided. Promises are so important because they control the balance of who we do or do not allow into our lives and let us distinguish the people with whom we feel comfortable and secure.”
When we promise our children something for Christmas it is a promise that we know we better keep. A promise kept at Christmas brings joy and happiness to a child who receives that special gift, and maybe even more so to the parent who has been able to fulfill that promise. I believe that we should think of Christmas as a time when promises are kept.
Consider that 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 the birth of Jesus. The virgin 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. “Now God gave some promises to Abraham and to his Child…to his child means Christ…and God’s promise to save through faith; and God wrote this promise down and signed it. It could not be canceled or changed…later when God gave the Ten Commandments. if obeying those laws could save us, then it is obvious that this would be a different way of gaining God’s favor than Abraham’s way, for he simply accepted God’s promise,” Galatians 3:16-18.
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 told 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.
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. As you enjoy the Christmas season together with your family, take time to thank God for the promises of Christmas. Celebrate God’s marvelous fulfillment of each promise in your life.