Promise, expectation & gratitude
‘You are going to have the best present ever’, said Dad, and his little girl’s eyes glistened with excitement.
That night, as she lay in bed, she began to imagine the wonderful things that Christmas Day would bring. Her Dad’s promise of ‘the best present ever’ had triggered her hopes and expectations to a heightened level: what would she get?
All the things she had ever wanted began to drift past her mind’s eye; toys that her friends already had, images she had seen in films and on TV adverts filled her imagination. The expectation and excitement was to grow day by day.
God also made a great promise to Abraham in Genesis chapter 12. He was to be given a wonderful present. He would have a son and a land.
What an amazing promise, and what thrill must have surged through Abraham’s heart as he contemplated the promised son who would rule the whole land.
God promised as well that Abraham’s son would bring blessing to the whole world. Abraham must have wondered how it was that God had chosen to give such a world-changing promise to him.
Maybe he lay awake at night and imagined his son as a glorious and gracious king, bringing blessing to all mankind. How he longed for that son to be born, and for his kingdom to be established. The expectation and excitement of those early days must have been deep.
Christmas Day arrived. The little girl awoke; it was 5.00am, and still dark outside. Her sleepy thoughts were jump-started with a sudden rush of excitement – the promised day had come.
Full of excitement, she ran and woke up her parents, ‘Mum! Dad! It’s Christmas! It’s Christmas! Can I open my present! Wake up! Dad; it’s Christmas!’
Well, even for weary Mum and Dad, the infectious enthusiasm and thrill was enough to stir them from their slumbers. Excitedly, they all went downstairs, and there under the Christmas tree was the large present in sparkling wrapping paper.
She began to open it, her mind buzzing with wonderment at what it would be. There it was – a wonderful gift, an expensive gift, something she had often said she wanted.
Out of the box it came – she was thrilled. She gazed with satisfaction, and then lifting her eyes up said, ‘Thanks Mum and Dad – it’s wonderful!’
‘When the fulness of time had come, God sent forth his Son – Jesus Christ, the son of Abraham’ (Galatians 4). Abraham had long since left the earthly scene, but the promise of God was not forgotten.
Abraham’s son, Isaac, was not the ultimate fulfilment of God’s promise. But, through the descendants of Abraham down the generations, God was preparing to fulfil his promise to Abraham.
Then, at just the right time, after 2000 years of expectation, Jesus was born to one of his descendants. It was a marvellous moment. Unnoticed by the great and the powerful in the world, God gave the best present ever. Angels in heaven and prophets through the ages had longed for this day.
Why do we celebrate the birth of Jesus? Jesus Christ is the one through whom the whole world will be transformed and ruled. Jesus Christ is establishing his rule on earth, and all who enter into a faith-relationship with him, a relationship of dependence and surrender, are placed under his power and everlasting protection.
Let us with childlike delight gaze upon him and lift up our eyes to say, ‘Thank you, Father, for the gift of your Son. He is all that we ever wanted’.