12.23.2011

Christmas 2011: The Promise

And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 
                                                                  -Luke 2:10-12 (ESV)

In considering a Christmas theme for 2011, I eventually focused in on that word above, “promise.” As I draw near to the close of 2 years with time in Scripture daily, I realize I’ve been immersed in this concept throughout the entirety of the Bible. I also realize these are promises which, though amazing, are far beyond wishful fantasy.

Promises Made

We make promises all the time. Some we keep, some we forget, and some we outright break. But when God makes a promise, it will happen. And throughout the Bible, God continually makes promises to His people. Through covenants and prophets, recorded in songs and historical texts, promises just keep being made.

God even made a promise to the first two people who ever lived... after they decided to stop listening to or trusting Him. When one act destroyed their perfect world, deteriorating into the world full of disappointments we know today, God promised something unique. He promised help through her offspring. (See Genesis 3.)

Promise Fulfilled
When a baby is born, parents, relatives and friends often speak of all the promise contained in this tiny, new human who is a clean slate full of prospects. What will he do? What will she accomplish?

But no baby born was more full of promise than one named Jesus, delivered in an animal stall in Bethlehem. His mere birth fulfilled so many long awaited promises, such as that made through the prophet Isaiah, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)

This was a child born to grow into a man who lived like no other man had, perfectly, and who could therefore die to do what no other man could. He died to fulfill the promise of God to renew His relationship with His people who, like the first two, now refuse to listen to God and trust Him. Then, to fulfill those promises completely, He returned from the dead and, for now, to Heaven.

“Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.” (Hebrews 9:15)

Promises to Come

Now, because of the promise that came through a baby, His people wait in hope for so much, including His renewal of all things and life forever with Him. “But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”
(2 Peter 3:13) “And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life.” (1 John 2:25)

This wait may often seem long, just as did the wait for His birth, but God has a purpose even in this. “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)

Perhaps He’s even directing His patience toward you.

Believe the Promise

The promises in Jesus are given to those who trust Jesus. “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13)

If you never have, or need encouragement to do so again, start listening to God in His Word, the Bible. Trust Him and believe His promises.

For you who do believe Him, thank God for all He has given and will give His people. Remember where the promises of God are found and fulfilled, through Him who was once a baby and who remains the ultimate Promise.

All the Promises of God find their yes in Jesus. (2 Cor. 1:20)

Praying for you a Christmas & New Year full of Promise.

Scripture quotes: ESV

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