There is nothing like the Christmas season. It comes rushing in like a hurricane and overtakes everything. Music. Movies. Even grocery stores. When Christmas comes in, you cannot miss it.
While you cannot miss the presence of the season, it is not that hard to miss what has been known as the “Reason for the Season.” It is not about white chocolate Oreos (even though they are oh so good and should be available all year long). It’s not about Christmas trees, ornaments, lawn decorations, or lights (although I like all of these). It is about the greatest gift in the world. It is the celebration of the birth if the Messiah: Jesus Christ.
Every year, I try to take the congregation that I lead through a series to remind us of the “Reason for the Season.” This year, I am preaching through a series that looks at the promises of Christmas. Over the weeks leading up to Christmas, I will be sharing here a written version of those messages. I welcome feedback and discussion, but mostly hope that they help you focus on Jesus this Christmas season.
The Promise of a Savior
Some of us get irritated when stores begin getting ready for Christmas. It seems like it is earlier and earlier. There are differing opinions as to when getting ready is too soon. When we look at the Bible, one could easily make an argument that God is in favor of an early preparation of Christmas. How can I say that? We see the first promise of Christmas mentioned in the Garden of Eden.
A Promise Broken (Genesis 3:1-7)
When Genesis 3 opens, we are introduced to a new character in the Bible: the serpent. This was a creature that was created as good by God but had been indwelt by Satan himself and used for his ungodly purposes. We see that this serpent has a conversation with Eve and causes her to break her promise to God.
Prior to this conversation that we see, Adam had been told by God to enjoy all of the creation that God had made except one tree – the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis 2:16-17). After God created Eve, it was Adam’s responsibility to share this with her.
We see that as Eve has this conversation with the serpent, she gives in to the temptation and breaks her promise to God. This is what the Bible calls sin – the breaking of God’s laws… disobeying what God has said.
We may be tempted to point a finger at Adam and Eve and say, “How could you do that? You had everything in all of creation, and you went after the one thing that you were told not to!” But how quickly do we see ourselves following Adam and Eve’s ways? How many times do we crave the very things that we are told that we are not to have?
We see that the very first promise that man made to God was broken. The result of this broken promise was judgment. We see that in the rest of the chapter. God shows up and deals with sin.
A Promise Made
As God came and brought judgment upon creation because of the sin that was present, we see an interesting sight. When we hear the word ‘judgment’, we tend to think of negative things. It does not normally compute with our minds that something good might actually come out of a judgment where we are completely in the wrong. God blows everyone’s mind in Genesis 3:14-15.
As God pronounces a curse upon the serpent, He makes a promise in verse 15. This is the first proclamation of the Gospel in creation. God says that He will rise up One that will bruise (or crush) the head of the serpent while he will bruise this One’s heel. It is interesting that the same word is given in action of the One and the serpent. They will deliver equally damaging blows, but the difference is that the One will have the ability to come back from it because He is not a creation. In Genesis 3:15, we have God making a promise to provide a Deliverer from the sin that has brought about the judgments of God on us.
A Promise Kept
If we fast-forward to Matthew 1:20-21, we will see that God keeps His promise. In this verse, we see an angel of the Lord coming to Joseph and telling him not to hesitate in taking Mary to be his bride. The child that she is carrying is the promise that God had made in the Garden of Eden. This “seed” would be the One who would save people from their sins.God is not in the business of breaking promises. If God has made a promise, you can take it to the bank that He will make good on it. The promise might not come in the timing that we would want, but it will always come right on time.
We can celebrate this Christmas season in knowing that God is a promise-keeping God. He sent His Son, Jesus, into this world to redeem us from the sin that we were guilty of. God did not weigh the scales and say, “I didn’t realize there was going to be THIS much sin.” God did not look at the types of sin and say, “I’m not sure about taking care of THAT sin.”
God showed His great love to us by saying to all who have sin – many or few, big or small – “I love you… this gift of salvation is for you.”
This Christmas season, my prayer for you is that you might experience the fullness of the gift that God gave to the world that first Christmas morning. If you have never received this gift of forgiveness and a new life through Christ, then you can today by surrendering your will and life to Christ.