Sitting and stewing, tiredly, over a cup of coffee this morning, several thoughts flashed through my mind. The presents were opened, the wrapping paper in bags, cinnamon rolls eaten, orange juice drank, watches and mp3 players programmed, oohs and ahhs said, and even though all of this is over, excitement still hung heavily in my house. Why? Sure, the gifts are great, but something is different about Christmas, no matter how you look at it. Yes, the kids were excited, they accepted their gifts with excitement, but I think there’s that unspoken but ever present feeling of “promises kept.” It wasn’t the gifts. In our house, we don’t make big lists (though we did lists this year for the sake of the relatives), we observe the kids, and try and get them gifts based on what we know about them. No, the promises kept are deeper, bigger than the commercialism that tries to abscond with what the day is really about.
Deep down, we treat one another better because we know that a promise was made and a promise was kept. “For unto us a child is born, unto us a child is given.” Promises made, promises kept. That is what Christmas truly is about. Not the trees, lights, or presents, not the feeling of good will, or snow (if you can get it, whether you want it or not). Not the songs, or the parties, or any such thing. It’s about the fact that what God says is. He says what He means, and means what He says. Not a single promise falls empty, or a single word returns void. And promises were made and kept within the birth, life, death, burial and resurrection of Christ Jesus, the Messiah, the Holy One of Israel. We have a King who lived among His subjects. We have a Priest who was our sacrifice. We have a God who knows what we’re like because He came down to our level.
So don’t worry about trees and lights, presents and songs; enjoy them all. But, as you do, remember the joy of Christmas has nothing to do with any of the externals. Promises were made and promises were kept. And we look forward to the day when every promises fulfilled, and we are united in the presence of God forever and ever because of a babe in a Manger nearly 2,030 years ago. Praise God, for His promises always come to pass.
But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil. For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire. 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. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.