Christmas Promise. Christmas Waiting.

I’m sitting here in my warm living room, White Christmas is playing on the television, I can see the snow coming down outside, and Erin is wrapping Christmas presents with Charlotte and Simon’s help. In other words, this moment right here, is about as perfect as Christmas moments get. Do you ever find yourself undeniably confronted by just how good God is to you? I do. However, I’m also sitting here praying for the seemingly endless number of people I know who are struggling today. I’m praying for those who recently lost loved ones. I’m praying for those who are overwhelmed by anxiety and stress. I’m praying for those who feel lost, hopeless, and desperate. Christmas is a season of dichotomy. Christmas is a season of instant joy and a season of waiting. It’s a season to be grateful and thankful, but also a season to long for the fullness of that peace and joy God promised the Christ-child would one day bring. Christmas is a season of promises fulfilled and promises yet to come. If you’re surrounded by the love of family and a warm home full of joy, give thanks to the God who entered the world as a child born in the manger. If you’re wondering when peace may reign in your heart or when the grief, stress, or worry may end, give thanks to the God who entered the world as a child born in a manger. It’s true, Christmas is the answer to every circumstance even when it doesn’t feel like it. Jesus, born in the manger, is the fulfillment of countless promises God made centuries prior as well as the hope for all who long for peace and the source of every blessing poured out upon us. Yesterday, during our Christmas Eve service, I spoke about a couple of obscure characters who pop up right at the end of the traditional Christmas story. Simeon and Anna seem completely random but their story couldn’t be more relevant to many today. Simeon and Anna reflect the life of Abraham and Sarah who thousands of years prior couldn’t wait on God to finally fulfill his promise to them. They waited for their promised child for a long time before finally deciding to take matters into their own hands and creating a colossal mess. Simeon and Anna waited for a promised child for decades as well. They longed for the salvation of Israel God promised. Unlike Abraham and Sarah, Simeon and Anna were faithful in their waiting and were blessed as a result. They surely had reason to give up. They surely felt pressure from their friends and family and fellow Israelites to take matters into their own hands. They surely struggled with moments of doubt, frustration, and disappointment. Yet, they waited on God and they’re remembered for millennia as righteous and devout. Likewise many today are longing for the peace and rest the Christ-child promised to usher into the world. Many are longing for salvation from their pain, anxiety, and grief. God promised a day is coming when there will be no more pain and tears. If this describes you this Christmas, I want to remind you that God always fulfills his promises. Remember the words of Isaiah, “Those that wait on the Lord will renew their strength.” (Isaiah 40:31) Christmas is the fulfillment of a promise but it was only the beginning. That perfect infant in the manger still needed to become like sin and be hung on a tree. That dead Savior still needed to defeat death and walk out of the grave. And, ultimately, he still needs to return to restore his eternal Kingdom on Earth. No matter where you are this Christmas give thanks for the child in the manger and the God who never fails to keep his promises. Merry Christmas!