Are you a promise keeper? Does it make you crazy when people don’t keep their promises? Unfulfilled promises can cause great disappointment, even anger and pain. As children, the promises of our parents hold a lot of weight. I didn’t have any children of my own when I married my husband. We met, and married ten weeks later, and I became an insta-mom to his three daughters who were 6, 8, and 10. Talk about a crash course in parenting! Being a mom made me quickly aware of the words that came out of my mouth. The casual statements, “Sure, we can go get frozen yogurt after school” or “Yes, we can go see the puppies at the store tomorrow,” weren’t quickly forgotten! “You promised!” would ring out from the backseat. Yes, I did, and I wanted to be true to my word. I wanted them to trust me.
Our Father in heaven always had a plan to fulfill his promise to his children through the gift of his son. In fact, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were all in on it. That promise sustained the Israelites for hundreds of years. It saw them through hundreds of years, through the wilderness, wars, famine, captivity, and silence. While the Israelites waited for centuries, the Lord was faithful and loving to reveal that plan in various ways, through many people, and at the right time, it was fulfilled through the birth of a baby. The birth of Jesus was the fulfillment of a long awaited promise of God to His people.
Jesus didn’t only bring freedom and joy to the Israelites. Isaiah 49:5-6 indicates that while Jesus was in the womb the plan was for him to also be a light to the Gentiles and all people to the ends of the earth. He fulfilled a promise to you too – a promise you may not even know you were waiting for. His birth brought joy to you by answering your cry to be saved. The Lord heard you. When you lost hope, he answered. When you cried out in fear, he answered. When you were abandoned and alone, he answered. He answered you by being born.
The Father’s one and only son entered this world to save you. While you may not have felt it at that moment, your cry for help was heard and answered. Even though that answer came over 2000 years ago, it is supernaturally effective in this very moment—as if in your exact moment of need the baby Jesus was born just for you. It’s as if the angel who proclaimed at the birth of Jesus, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy” (Luke 2:10) was saying it to you.
What a love story! God has loved you from the very beginning. There is nothing you can do to change his love for you. The Lord longs for you to know the depth and breadth of his love. His faithfulness extends to every area of your life. This is really good news. News that brings joy to every circumstance.
A friend of mine was pregnant with her first child and, like most parents-to-be, she and her husband were consumed by the worries of, “How are we going to do this?” They couldn’t see how they would possibly have enough money, time, energy, and love to pull off the role of being parents. My friend’s grandmother told her, “Honey, don’t you know that every baby comes with a loaf of bread under their arm?” This is an old Hebrew saying (and often found in Spanish speaking cultures) meaning that parents need not worry about the costs to feed and raise a child because God will provide a way. It’s true! The Lord is so good at providing a way when we can’t see one.
Baby Jesus was born with a loaf of bread for the whole world! In fact, he was born in Bethlehem which, when translated, means “the house of bread.” Jesus says of himself in John 6:35, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” He compared his own body to bread as he broke a loaf and said, “This is my body given for you…” (Matt. 26:26). He was the bread that not only would satisfy the world, but he said of himself, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 6:35). He came to make a way. He is the way. He kept his promise and he came for you.