I don’t have to remind you why we celebrate Christmas and what the reason for the season truly is. Many of you already have a variety of traditions to keep Christ at the center of your Christmas celebrations. This year, I want to bring a different challenge to you, but I’ll get to that in a minute.
For the last year and a half, I have been studying the promises of God, throughout Scripture and in my life. One of those personal promises came to fruition this year when I had the privilege of marrying my best friend. While we’ve been together less than two years, God promised her to me almost nine years ago. I was in India on a mission trip, and I was spending some time seeking the Lord’s direction for personal relationships while I was away. I heard a very clear direction from God: wait. He didn’t tell me who I was waiting for and how long I would be waiting. He simply told me to wait.
Fast forward six years, and I go on my last, first date. Fast forward another 10 months, now over seven years since God told me to wait, and He releases me from waiting. I finally get to cash in on His promise for me! I’m sure many of you might have a similar story of knowing the exact moment God answered a prayer and a promise in your life. Do you remember the excitement, the energy, and the hope it brought for you?
Transfer this excitement and hope to the people of Israel. They were promised a Savior hundreds of years before the birth of Christ. God told them to wait, too. Except instead of waiting seven years, they had to wait 700 years! Can you imagine the hope and excitement Mary must have felt knowing that she was at the center of the answer to God’s promise for His people? The hope and joy that came with that answer didn’t last until December 26. Every time she looked at her son, she knew He was the promised Messiah, the Prince of Peace. She might not have known the difficulties that were yet to come, but she could take rest in knowing that God was bringing salvation to His people.
Recently, I heard a song (December Song by Peter Hollens – listen to it here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vtlZXmuh9M4 ) that challenged me with this chorus:
But why does it change with the seasons? And why can’t we just hold on?
To Silent nights, Holy nights,
And angels singing lullabies
Heaven and nature
Singing good will to all
At Christmas, we celebrate one of the biggest promises God made not just to His people but to all people. But we are quick to move on to the next thing on December 26, aren’t we? We close out our traditions, put the decorations away, and move on to the next event. How would our lives change if we lived every day with the hope, joy, and excitement of Christmas day?
My challenge to you is this: reflect on a promise God made to you. Whether or not He’s fulfilled that promise, transfer the emotions around that promise to your celebrations of Christ’s birth. Then take that one step further and find a way to reflect on God’s answered and yet-to-be answered promises for you and your family all year long. Join with me to keep Christ not just in Christmas but in the day after Christmas too. While it is fun to remember Christ’s first coming during the Christmas season, the anticipation for His second coming should keep us hopeful, joyful, and waiting all year long.
Mr. Craig Carnahan, M.Ed