As God was escorting Adam and Eve out of the only home they’d ever known, he paused for a moment to make a promise. They had eaten of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, breaking the only prohibition God had given them. They had sinned, and their punishment was to forfeit their perfect home and the peace they enjoyed there. God cast them into a life of pain and hardship, defined by labor. Sin permanently altered the world. But there was a single ray of hope—a promise (Genesis 3:15) that God renewed with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
God reminded each new generation that He’d not forgotten. He’d not forgotten their plight. He’d not forgotten His promise.
God keeps His promises
Theologians call this promise, the first of its kind, the Protoevangelium. I’ve often wondered if Joseph thought of it when the Angel of the Lord gave him the name of the child that Mary was carrying, renewing that promise yet again: “you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” —Matthew 1:21
Jesus’ arrival shouldn’t have surprised anyone. For years He’d been promising to come, but many people expected their God to arrive in a dramatic, victorious way. They believed the messiah should arrive triumphantly, astride a stallion, backed by the army of heaven. But God delivered on his promise in a humble roadside inn in one of the most modest towns in the whole country. There arrived the world’s hope. There, God proved once again that He keeps His promises.
Christmas: a reminder of his faithfulness
Even though God has kept all his promises throughout history, and preserved his Word in a compelling, error-free record; even though God has never given me any reason to doubt his faithfulness, power, or love; yet I still doubt—not always actively, but I’m often surprised when God keeps a promise to me. Why?
I don’t know all the reasons, but each year, the Christmas season reminds me that God’s faithfulness outlasts my belief in Him. God’s goodness exceeds my expectations. Even though Adam and Eve were long gone, even though their descendants had long stopped believing, He fulfilled His promise.
by Ray Deck III