God’s Christmas Promise
We are in the season of Advent, signaling that it is nearly Christmas. God’s promise of Christmas is clear from Jesus own words, as He said, ‘I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent me’ (John 6.38).
This week in the church we light the first advent candle, remembering God’s Promise to send the Saviour of the World, bringing into the darkness the hope of His love and light. This was His promise from old, ‘Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel’ (Isaiah 7.14).
The fulfilment of God’s promise is recorded in Galatians 4.4-5, ‘But when the right time finally came, God sent His own Son. He came as the son of a human mother and lived under the Jewish Law, to redeem those who were under the Law, so that we might become God’s children’. Isaiah 7 reveals God’s promise before Jesus came, and Galatians is the revelation of His promise after Jesus came.
The advent of this promise was revealed on earth at Jesus’ birth, but now with the advantage of hindsight, we can understand the power and truth in those words, knowing who He is and why He came. Throughout Advent into Christmas, we celebrate this Good News, Immanuel which means God with us. Then in the New Testament, we find out why He came, so that we might become God’s children.
Recently, we moved into the manse, once all the boxes were emptied and pictures were on the walls, it was my next task to start planning for Christmas. I remembered from last year that my friend had bought a beautiful, hand-made wreath for her front door. I thought it would be nice idea to get one for the manse but, I couldn’t find what I had the vision for. So, I decided to make my own.
Once the online ordering was complete, all this stuff arrived, lots of it. I was excited to get started on my wreath, but knew it would first require a plan before I started, to get a vision for what it would look like after. Like many things in life, we have to appreciate the before state of something, before we can value what comes after.
However, in infinitely more important ways than my wreath, this reality applies to the Christmas story.
This time of year, we often start at Jesus birth, never fully appreciating the before of His arrival on earth, which helps us value the significance of events after His birth on earth. The single fact that Jesus came, is truly miraculous. And yet, we often forget that before Jesus was placed in the manger, He left His home in heaven, to come to ours on earth. Jesus, Immanuel, God with us, left behind all His heavenly glory to be born in humble circumstances, here on earth.
Jesus came from where He had lived for all eternity past, to make a way for us to live there with Him for all eternity future. So, when remembering Jesus’ birth this Advent season, consider a love deeper than we will ever know, as the God of all Creation, the Eternal One, came from heaven to earth and was born to save you and me.
The before of the Christmas story, that is knowing who Jesus is, is as important as the after of the story, that is knowing why He came.
Father God, help us to understand Your love, so we can celebrate Christmas knowing with certainty the hope and truth we have in You and Your promises. Help us to sense the scope of Your love and why You sent Jesus to the earth as a baby. We can’t thank You enough for all that Jesus gave up when He left heaven, to enter the world as our Saviour, and His eternal home became our eternal future. In Bethlehem there was no room to be found for Your Holy head to lay, but there is room in our heart for You today, so come to live with us, Lord Jesus, we pray, amen.
May God grant you the light in Christmas, which is faith. The warmth of Christmas, which is love. The belief in Christmas, which is truth. The all of Christmas, which is Christ.