Advent. Adventus. Coming. Immanuel. God With Us.
"Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. " Isaiah 7:14
"And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us." Matthew 1:21-23
Promises. In our sin-soaked lives, promises are easier to make than to keep. We fully intend to do what we say, but things can prevent us from following through. It is hard, in this world, to trust anyone. It seems like everyone lets you down eventually, and that you are destined to eventually let others down.
But God. "God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?" (Numbers 23:19). When God promises something, it happens.
The Old Testament contains hundreds of prophecies about the coming of the Messiah. It was over 700 years from the time that God spoke through the mouth of Isaiah until Jesus was born in Bethlehem. All of those years of waiting. Can you imagine? We live in an "instant" society. If you can't find something on Google within 30 seconds, you probably didn't need to know that badly.
But God. "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9). When God promises something, it happens at the perfect time.
You see, when we make promises, we are really making predictions. We look at the information we have, and try to figure out what will happen in the future. God does not use this process. To him, the future is in the past! His promises are based on his perspective of knowing everything from the beginning of time to the end. When God promises, he is sure that it will come to pass. When God promises, you can be sure it will come to pass!
As we begin this season of Advent, of Immanuel, let us rest in the promises of God. Trust him that in his all-knowing, all-seeing perspective he is the best one to make decisions for your life. His plans are perfect. Yes, it is hard to trust. It is easier to trust no-one but yourself. But think about it. How accurate are your predictions? How many times have you made a plan, or a promise, and were unable to see it through? How many times have you failed yourself or others because you weren't able to see the pitfalls along the way?
This winter season is dark here in the Northern Hemisphere. Each day gets a little shorter, and each night gets a little longer. It is a hard time to get through for some of us. But as we look forward to the coming of the Lord Jesus, we add light, one candle at a time. As the natural world gets darker, the Spirit of God brightens our hearts. "For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ." (2 Corinthians 4:6).
As we look forward to celebrating the birth of our Savior, we need to allow ourselves to be reborn as well. Jesus was born once, of mortal woman and the Holy Spirit. We were all born into this world as mortal people. We have to have a second, spiritual birth. Our mortal bodies will die, but our spirits have been promised eternal life.
"As for you, see that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. And this is what he promised us—eternal life."
1 John 2:24-25.
This Christmas season, put God back on His throne. Let His light shine in your heart. And lean on His promises.