More Than a Promise

cards hanging on Christmas tree

It’s that time again.  Christmas is often either a favorite or most dreaded time of the year. Christmas is for hot chocolate and mistletoe.  Family and loved ones.  Lights and gifts. For some people, it is a magical season full of warm memories, hopeful feelings, and fond family affairs.  For others, Christmas aims a spotlight at life’s unfulfilled wishes.  For me, it’s a little of both, but I have grown to appreciate that.  I can appreciate the sweet memories I make and still long for something more.  The older I’ve gotten, the more I realize this tension is the perfect picture of Christmas.  Instead of dreading the duality of feelings, I let them remind me of the complicated, miraculous, and life-changing truth of ‘already and not yet.’

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

And He who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.  The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.

Revelations 21:3-7

Christmas is worth celebrating because it is a marker of the moment when Jesus, who existed in perfect harmony with the Father and Holy Spirit, came to this earth to partake of dependency, vulnerability, and suffering in order to dwell with His people.  That sacrifice alone would make Him worthy of all our praise.  God wants to live with us?  He wants to experience our pain with us?  He wants to sympathize with our weaknesses? Yes, He does!

However, that isn’t the only joy of Christmas.  We know that it is a gift beyond expectation to have the Savior live among us, but Revelations 21 paints a picture of how Jesus will and is making all things new and, indeed, how He already has. 

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes.”

“Death shall be no more.”

“Neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

“Behold, I am making all things new.”

It is done!

Not to go all “word nerd” on you, but LOOK at all the tenses in these statements!  If someone switched between past, present, and future in normal conversation like this, you’d assume they’d spent too much time near the eggnog.  But when the Lord does it, it is an intentional and generous look behind the curtain into truths we cannot fully comprehend.  Jesus can say, “Look what I will do” and “It is done” in the same breath because He isn’t subject to time.  He created it! When Jesus says He will return for us and that He is preparing a place for us, He doesn’t mean that He will endeavor to get around to it when He has the time.  It means He is standing in the moments when there will be no tears, no entropy, and none of Satan’s deceptions, as surely as He is at the cross dying for our sins and as surely as He is with us today.  This is more than a promise- it is done, friends!

Christmas is a fulfillment of so, so, so many prophecies foretelling the coming of a Messiah.  Scriptures foretold the very specific place of Jesus’ birth as well as many of the circumstances surrounding that birth.  We knew what family He would be born into.  We knew He would be a prophet, a priest, and a King.  We knew that there would be a messenger who prepared the way for His coming and declared Him when He did come.  We knew His life would be filled with service, miracles, and a death that teaches us the meaning of sacrifice.

Friends, our Lord is a promise keeper!  Let’s look on this holiday and remember that He has already fulfilled SO many promises to us in His birth, in His death, and in His resurrection.  Indeed, He has fulfilled them all.  His kindness and faithfulness to us are proven every morning with new mercies, extravagant love, and abundant forgiveness.  Merry Christmas.

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