November 29th, 2019
Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive, have a son, and name him Immanuel.
Promises are made with words. I might say, "I'll be there at three," or "I will never leave you." And that part of myself that goes with every promise is given to you through my words.
Our God is the great maker of promises. His Word, the Bible, is quite simply a collection of the promises He has made to us. In the beginning God told Adam and Eve, I will send someone who will crush the head of the serpent. A promise. Most of the other promises in the Bible - if you look closely at them - are only a variation on that same theme. They concern Jesus, who would come to be known after all as the "Promised One." Through all these promises, God was trying to give something of Himself to Adam and to Israel - and finally to us. The Bible tells us that when the Promised One finally came, the Lord poured all of Himself into Him.
In the fullness of time what God had desired to do through the ages happened: He gave all of Himself to us through Jesus Christ, the Word of God, spoken at an incalculable price. When the Promised One appeared, God knew the giving of Jesus' life was in view. It makes you realize in the end what a costly thing it can be to make a promise. Sometimes it can even cost you your life!
From: "Immanuel: Reflections on the Life of Christ"
And you shall call His name 'Jesus' because He shall save His people from their sins" (Mt. 2:21). Even His name is a promise: "The Lord saves."
Christmas is the celebration of the keeping of a promise. The promise that God would someday erase the sin of the world in a single day (Zech. 3:9). The promise that He would someday walk with us, that we might be His people and He our God (Lev. 26:12). The promise that the fall would be undone by the One who would crush the head of the serpent (Gen. 3:15). A saving promise.
Faith, in the Old Testament, is defined by a person's willingness to wait for the promises of God to come. Faith, in the New Testament, means following the Promised One.
In that Promised One, God gave to us all He could give because a part of the "self" is given in the making of any real promise. Overwhelmed by His own desire to give, God sent the most treasured Gift to keep the promise He himself made. God chose to suffer the punishment which should have been inflicted on those who are guilty of breaking a promise. So for those who see Christianity merely as a relationship in which we can ask God for things, Christmas reminds us that He has already given His all, His own Son.
Christianity is founded on a promise. Faith involves waiting on a promise. Our hope is based on a promise. God promised He would be "with us," not as an unseen ethereal force, but in the form of a person with a name: Jesus. He promised us salvation in the name 'Jesus,' by the name 'Jesus,' through the name 'Jesus.'
O Lord, how many are your
promises? Are they not all "yes" in
the name of the One who is the
Promise? Father, let me spend my life
pursuing that Promise. Teach me to
hope in you, who always keep your
Promise. Give my life to your
Promise, so that I may shine like a
single star in the darkness of this
world with the light of your
From: "The Promise: A Celebration of Christ's Birth, Prayers, Reflections and Songs"