An author describes meeting an ex-slave from Virginia in one of his books. In it he writes, "I found that this man had made a contract with his master, two or three years previous to the Emancipation Proclamation, to the effect that the slave was to be permitted to purchase his freedom by paying so much per year for his body; and while he was paying for himself, he was to be allowed to labour where and for whom he pleased. Finding that he could secure better wages in Ohio, he went there. When freedom came, he was still in debt to his master some three hundred dollars.
Notwithstanding that the Emancipation Proclamation freed him from any obligation to his master, the man walked all the way back to Virginia, to where his old master lived, and placed the last dollar, with interest, in his hands. In talking to me about this, the man told me that he knew that he did not have to pay his debt, but that he had given his word to his master, and his word he had never broken. He felt that he could not enjoy his freedom till he had fulfilled his promise." Isn’t it refreshing when someone keeps their promise? Too often we are let down by politicians, spouses, employees and many others who promise us the world and then fail to deliver! But wait … Christmas is a time to celebrate another kept promise! A promise we should all consider very seriously. God made a promise and “sent His Son that whoever believes in Him (Jesus) shall not die but have everlasting life.” He kept His promise so that others might go free! What a promise! What hope it brings in a world gone wrong! Jesus is the only hope in a morally, financially and socially bankrupt world. A world in which our sin has led to so much suffering! Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth of the One who came to make things right between us and God. We cannot hope to do that ourselves because we have let God down, we have not lived up to His perfect standard, we have rejected the way our Creator wants us to live, we have rebelled against Him and are determined to do the things which please us and not Him! Christmas celebrates the birth of Christ, who came to reconcile sinners to God. It is a time to thank God for sticking to His promise. It is a time when we should reflect on who Jesus really is, who He claims to be. Jesus is the Son of God and there is plenty of proof to back this up. His life on earth was different to any other person’s – He healed, He cast out evil spirits, He calmed the raging waters, He even raised people from the dead! Even the events that took place at the time of His death prove that He was no ordinary man, but the greatest proof of all, is that He was raised from the dead! All these things show that Jesus really is who He says He is. God’s own Son! The cross is the place where Jesus made things right between God and sinners. It was there that He was punished in the place of His people, where he took their sin upon Himself. He was their substitute! It was there that He paid the price that bought their freedom. The cross is the place where God declared His people righteous, based not on their lives but on the life of His Son, who lived the perfect life they could not live themselves. The cross is the place where so many of God’s promises were fulfilled. We do not know what 2019 holds, doom and gloom or joy and gladness but we can take comfort in the fact that Jesus knows. Why not turn to him, why not stand fast on some more of His promises, promises that He will never leave or forsake His people, promises that He has gone to prepare a place for His people and promises that He will come again to take all those who love Him and trust in His name to be with Him forever! My prayer for you this Christmas is that you will grab hold and cling to the promised “Babe of Bethlehem”, and experience for yourself the love of a promise keeping God. Wishing you all a very merry Christmas and a wonderful and blessed 2019.
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