All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means “God with us”) Isaiah 7:14
When we think about God’s promises, we often go to the Old Testament and examine what God said to patriarchs: Abrahams and his descendants. I imagine that those who lived during those times saw those promises differently from us living in 2021. They probably reflected on land filled with milk and honey and protection from enemies. They may not have thought too hard about how God’s promises could change them personally. They did not necessarily see how the promises lead to a deeper relationship with God and their neighbour.
Jesus came so God could fulfill His promises to us. Since the garden, and despite the guidance, encouragement and grace God gave His creation, people misunderstood what God wanted. They somehow felt they needed to amaze God with their deeds. They tried to be obedient but became mechanical and routine. They did all they could to impress God, hoping He would bless, but most of them ignored the caveats that were part of some of the promises. They wanted to do this relationship their way and missed what God was doing; they missed that He wanted to impress them (and us) with His love. Many could not, and still cannot, understand God’s love for His creation and, as such, are confused as to the full extent of His promises.
Jesus’ birth, life, death and resurrection were part of God’s plan to bring us to Him. The Christian Church celebrates these events throughout the year. We repeat them yearly as we await the fulfilment of the promises; eternity with Him and includes a changed life while on this earth. However we have not been asked to sit and wait but to share the Good News so that other may understand and accept the promises of God.
Please take an opportunity this month, to connect the dots for someone who does not realize how Christmas is only part of the story that God planes so His creation can be with Him. The birth of Christ is the promise of nearness. Remind them that Jesus Christ is Emanuel; the “God with us.” God is not the far-away-God; God is the right-here-and-right-now God, just as he promised.