Christmas is my favorite time of the year…minus all the snow and cold. But the lights, the music, and all the shiny red, silver, and gold packaging are just beautiful. With all that said, it is easy in the world we live in to dismiss why we even celebrate this time of year. I’m not going to talk about where we get Christmas or how it started or why we do the things we do to celebrate the biggest holiday on the calendar. What I do want to talk about are the promises made and kept, and most importantly: the why.
Let’s look at a time where God made and kept His promises. The Israelites, after God had defeated all of its enemies as He fought for them in the conquest of the Promise Land, were told, “You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed.” (Joshua 23:14)
It is in Joshua also that we read the great story of where the Israelites marched around the city of Jericho one time six days in a row. Then on the seventh day, they marched around the city seven times, blew a trumpet, the people gave a mighty shout, and the walls “came a tumbling down.” The battle of Jericho was no battle at all. Chances are that by the thirteenth time around, every person in Jericho was on that wall. In one shout, all the people of Jericho came tumbling down in the rubble and the battle was over. God fought that battle!
Much could be said here about the Jericho’s we all face in our lives…the impossible conquered only through the mighty hand of God…but this is a thought about promises. We can talk about overcoming any obstacle in our lives through the power of God another time. What I am hoping we see here is that God kept His promises to His people…every one. The verse says, “not one has failed.” Those last four words are immensely significant. Let me explain.
As was mentioned above, Christmas is about a promised made and kept. God has promised us though His word that He will send us someone who can save us, who can overcome our enemies, who can and will defeat our fears, and give us joy, hope, and peace forever and always. That someone is Jesus Christ.
God promised in Micah 5:2 that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem no less than 700 years before it happened…kept! In Isaiah 7:14, also some 700 years prior, God promises by whom…kept! God even goes so far as to promise us a thousand years before the birth of Christ, this great little detail of the Christmas story, that Kings from the East will visit and bring gifts (Psalm 72)….kept!
We know the “who” and the “where”, but why? The simple answer…to redeem us back to Himself in order to have complete joy and a life filled with promise and hope. Our sin (Romans 3:23) has separated us from God, but He says, “I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.” (Isaiah 44:22) “Who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” (Titus 2:14)
Why even talk about all this? Simple…to show you that you can trust the God of the Bible. He has kept every one of the promises that He has made…”not one has failed.” That being the case, you can trust Him when He says that Jesus is the only way to heaven (John 14:6). By confessing Jesus as Lord, and believing in our heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved because one believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation. (Romans 10:9-10). These too are promises, and you can trust a God who has kept every promise He has ever made. “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21) Now that is “why” Christmas.