This is the first in a set of six readings I prepared for a Christmas Eve service in 2013. I will be posting one each week until Christmas. Feel free to use them for family devotions, personal enjoyment, or for any future Christmas events of your own.
God keeps His promises even after we have failed. If you think the Christmas story is exciting for you, imagine what it would have meant to Adam and Eve. Imagine how Adam and Eve would have felt if you could travel back in time and sit on the ground beside them on the day they fell, as they are sobbing outside the Garden of Eden, and you could read them the Christmas story. Imagine that you could point to the angel with the flaming sword, who is standing there to keep them from ever going back into the garden and the relationship with God they have lost, and you say,
“Do you know what’s going to happen someday? An angel is going to appear to some of your descendants who will be watching sheep on a hill outside this town, called Bethlehem, and do you know what that angel is going to do?”
Adam and Eve would probably guess, “He’s going to kill them, right? The way God should have killed us today but for some reason we’re still alive?”
And you say, “No, he’s going to say something. Guess what he’s going to say.”
But Adam and Eve are too afraid to guess what God would have to say to humans now.
So you tell them, “He’s going to say, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy that will be for all people.”
Now Adam and Eve are gaping at you with astonished eyes. “You mean, a messenger from God to humanity will someday say ‘Don’t be afraid?’ You mean God still wants to give us great joy? You mean He still can give us great joy? What ‘good tidings’ could ever make us rejoice again when we have been cursed by God?”
And you tell them, “Then the angel will say, ‘For there is born to you this day a Savior!’”
And every word you say is dripping like healing balm into their cracked, aching, broken souls because they never dreamed God could have a plan this wonderful after what we did wrong.
And you say,
“Guess what the angels do next? A whole big multitude of them appears, and they sing! And guess what they sing?”
So they guess.
“Um… maybe something like glory to God for this?”
“Yes!” you cry, “But you only guessed the first half of it. The angels sing, ‘Glory to God in the highest AND peace on earth, good will towards men.’”
“What?” Eve starts to cry. “Good will towards us? Really? You mean even after everything He just said to us, that’s how He really feels about me? It can’t be true. It just can’t be. How could God ever both be glorified AND give us peace? It’s too good to be true. Surely this will never happen.”
But it did happen.
God keeps His promises even after we have failed.
God keeps His promises even after our hearts shut down.
The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will accomplish this.
Christmas comes because God wants it more than you do.