“The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah." (Jeremiah 31:31)
As I sit here writing this devotion, we’ve had record snowfall here in the South. For those of you who get snow on a regular basis this is no big deal and life goes on. But here in the middle of North Carolina if we get more than 3 inches it pretty much shuts us down. Today we had 12 inches – 1 foot of snow. Our kids may seriously not go back to school for a week. Why? Because we aren’t prepared for a lot of snow. We get one or two good snows per year so we don’t keep the equipment or resources on hand year-round to deal with a foot of snow in one day. On top of having a beautiful snowfall we are also two weeks away from Christmas. We sing and watch movies about a White Christmas but even more rare than a foot of snow, is a December snow in the South. It just makes the holiday season feel perfect.
We had days of preparation, thanks to our meteorologists and The Weather Channel ®. Everyone stocked up on supplies and boots, and every store is sold out of snow bibs. With all this preparation, I‘ve been looking forward to a few days of being snowed in with my family. I was prepared because I knew it was coming. I anticipated it and we excitedly watched for it. And even with all this prep, it’s still beautiful to walk by my window and take few minutes to gaze at the blanket of whiteness that covers everything.
Since we are in the Christmas season I thought today about the anticipation of the Messiah for the thousands of years before Christ was born. The Jewish people were promised a Savior sent to earth to save them. They watched for signs, they anticipated it, but could they have ever expected it would have happened as God planned?
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)
A child is born to us! A son is given to us! And he will be our ruler. He will be called, “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)
What I saw in my vision hasn’t happened yet. But some day, a king of Israel will appear like a star. (Numbers 24:17)
The fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies to the New Testament fulfillment beginning with the birth of Christ is astonishing. He was Immanuel, God with us. In the form of a helpless baby, born in a small barn, to parents who weren’t of any importance. But they meant everything to God and they were obedient. Worshipped by dirty shepherds and wise men alike, sought out by prophets and nearly killed by his own government before he could even talk, Jesus was the one that they had been waiting for and the one that would fulfill all the promises from the beginning to end.
Sometimes during the busyness of the holiday season it’s a beautiful blessing to have to slow down for a moment. Reflecting on the most important gift that was ever given to humanity in the form of a baby. God sent Jesus to us, as His gift of love, to save us from ourselves. We live on this side of the New Testament since it has fulfilled the covenant of our Savior and Messiah. But make no mistake that God continues to keep His Promises even when they don’t come in ways we can imagine, or we would ever expect. May this season bring you a fresh look at what God did for you, for all of humanity through the beautiful birth of Jesus. May we keep our minds focused on Jesus and God please help us to stop in praise and awe as we reflect the wonders of Your Love for us.
Heavenly Father God, There are no words adequate to describe the beauty of your love for us and the depths that you would sacrifice your only Son as our Savior. Thank you God for the promises you made and the promises you kept. Thank you for the ways in which you have loved us with an everlasting love and please help us to remember to the greatest gift was from You.