INI + AMEN.
(1. We’ve all experienced people not keeping their word.)
Here we are at another Christmas Eve. We’re celebrating the birth of the Lord God Himself. He’s been born to save us, and so Alleluias, Hosannas, and Glorias fill our songs! But for some, there’s something putting a damper on their Christmas joy. There’s many reasons for this, but there’s one that’s highlighted by the Christmas story in general and in our text from Matthew 1 specifically. It doesn’t just affect us during the holiday season either. We experience it all times of the year. From the gifts you were promised and didn’t get, to the visits that didn’t happen as planned or expected, to even the honey-do list that’s more of a honey-didn’t list. We’ve all experienced people not keeping their word.
(2. We haven’t kept our word!)
The problem isn’t just with other people though. We can all think of times and places where WE didn’t keep our word. From the small things to the big things. We’ve all broken promises, haven’t kept our word. You’d think that we wouldn’t based on how we feel when others don’t keep their word, but it just happens. We’ve got excuses, but they don’t help. And really, do we like it when others make excuses? And we don’t just end up not fulfilling, not keeping our word with those around us: our friends, family, and all the other people we come into contact with on a daily basis. It’s worse than that. We don’t keep our word with God! There’s the mistakes we try and make up for and then fall short. There’s the jams we get into and then try and bargain our way out. “God, if You just help me out, I’ll pray more often,” or whatever other thing we try and do. We’ll be good for awhile, then it falls short. Our word to others and to God Himself falls short. We haven’t kept our word!
It’s a good thing, then, that what we celebrate and remember tonight isn’t dependent upon us at all! With our track-record for promise-keeping, we’d be in trouble if Christmas were about us, and our keeping our word. Christmas is all about what the Lord is doing. What’s the Lord doing? Well,
(3.) THE LORD FULFILLS HIS WORD.
That’s what Matthew 1’s all about: the Lord fulfilling His Word. “Mary was found with child from the Holy Spirit.” And as we’re told: “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: ‘Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel’ (which means, God with us).” What the Lord spoke through Isaiah He fulfilled. What He’d spoken through Isaiah, He promised in Eden: “I will put enmity between you and the woman; between your seed and her Seed. He shall crush your head, and you will strike His heal.” This is exactly why the angel also carries this message to Joseph: “You shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” The Lord made a promise and kept it. He promised a Savior. He promised that this Savior would be God Himself. “God with us.” Pleased as man, with man to dwell. He promised Him as Son and Savior from sins, Savior from broken, empty, and half-hearted promises. So He is called Jesus. He is God Himself, sent to be born, to die: nails, spear shall pierce Him through, the cross be borne for me, for you; hail, hail the Word made flesh, The babe, the son of Mary. He was sent to rise again from the dead. All of this was promised too. So Jesus, who comes to fulfill His Word because that’s exactly what the Lord does, fulfills His Word.
(4. We can trust Him and His Word)
For this reason we trust the Lord. He keeps His promises. He sends Jesus. God keeping His promises and sending Jesus are really the same thing because Jesus, the eternal Son of the Father, is the answer to all God’s promises. He is the fulfillment of every Word spoken in Scripture. As Paul says, “All the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.” That’s what fills us with joy this Christmas Eve. Our word falters, but God’s Word doesn’t. He keeps His Word. He Jesus keeps it! He sends His Son to save us, and that’s what we hear about tonight. So we listen to the children retell the story. We sing the carols. We’re filled with joy not because of what our kids are doing, how cute they are. We’re not only happy because we sang this or that hymn because we like it. We’re happy and filled with joy because of what God’s done. He’s fulfilled His Word. Jesus was born. That proves He keeps His Word! He’ll save you, too. Jesus already has. Merry Christmas!
INI + AMEN.