It started with a promise
a seed of hope planted deep in the heart of humankind
the sublime belief that there is more to life than this.
A longing to comprehend what it means to belong
to know the one who created us all
and so the story began.
Each generation had a part to play
but it was the orchestrator of all time who wrote the score
and weaved His melody right through history
to this point on this day.
At each stage He worked with man to further His plan
to save us from ourselves and reveal the truth.
Men and women of faith ran their race in the power of His grace
passing the baton on
always pointing towards the one
who was greater
the creator who would do what no mere man could do
and break the power of death
so that we can step into life – eternally.
But God’s ways are not the ways of man
and many failed to understand
how all this could be part of a plan.
If we go back to the start it began with the father Abraham
a man and his wife old and grey who had lived without a child right into old age
but Abraham believed the promises of God when He said your wife will conceive
and after years of waiting – she did.
The next promise came as he stepped out in faith
prepared to give up his most precious gift,
pointing to a day when the ultimate Father would sacrifice His son so that we could belong.
And God promised Abraham:
‘You will become the father of a nation whose people will out-number the grains of sand on the beach
through these people I will reach all people and reveal my name.’
God had shared His game-plan to intervene in the story of man and a nation was born: Israel.
This nation begged God for a king who could bring them power,
they wanted a warrior but God picked a boy: David
the youngest in the family
and anointed him with the power to become the king Israel longed for and remembered.
But everything he did pointed to another
who would surpass all that David did,
the King of Kings, Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Prince of Peace.
God sustained His surprises through the generations
as His nation sought a king to surpass David in all the wrong places.
But the creator had not forgotten His words
and in His timing He planted another promise.
This time He chose a girl with a heart that longed for God with us
and into the pure body of this peasant girl the creator of the universe brought to life a miracle
and the ultimate promise was born,
not in a palace or to royal celebration
but in a backwater in a feeding trough.
The miracle of this story is that God’s plan to bring hope to all generations took the form of a vulnerable baby.
And that baby grew to be the man who followed the perfect plan
and lived a life without blemish and died the death of a criminal
to break the power of all that we’ve done to separate us from the perfect one;
the God of all love.
As death overtook him it appeared God had overlooked him
but in the unexpected miracles of the maker three days passed and then life returned.
The apparently defeated King of the Jews came back to life and now reigns.
Promise fulfilled, all in God’s will,
Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Prince of Peace.
But the story doesn’t end there
the melody plays on to this point on this day.
The promise of Christmas is not found in the boxes lying under the tree
but in you and me.
The seed of hope that longs for God with us is fulfilled in Emmanuel
freedom for all of us
the weak become strong, the broken are healed and the lost are found.
The ultimate promise of Christmas is the hope of new life from the giver of life
the creator’s eternal gift to all of us.