Promises on which you can rely

We had already been told that there will be no new COVID curbs this side of Christmas. But still, people waited on tenterhooks to see what the Prime Minister said. He said there would be no new COVID curbs this side of Christmas. But still, people waited to see if that held true. There were then noises that things might kick in before Christmas again. Once again, the Prime Minister insisted there would be no curbs before Christmas. Still, everyone waits on tenterhooks.

The obvious question is, why? Why, with all these assurances, do people still wait to see what happens? Why do people still worry that Christmas is in doubt? Ultimately, because we have been here before. Similarly, because of the track record of those making the promises.

Last Christmas, we had utmost assurance that Christmas would not be cancelled. We all eagerly made our plans, within the rules, only for our limited plans to be whipped away. Those who absolutely insisted Christmas would not be cancelled still wound up, just days beforehand, cancelling Christmas.

The noises this time are exactly the same. COVID-19 cases of the new omicron variant are ramping up. There is panic in some quarters. Christmas is bearing down on us and, with the same vigour as 2020, the same Prime Minister is making the same promises of not cancelling festivities. Promises made and broken before – promises of exactly this same kind – do not lead to great confidence in the promises being made today.

There are another set of Christmas promises made, not by the Prime Minister, but by the God of the universe. When the serpent was told in Genesis 3 that God would send offspring of Adam and Eve to crush his head, it was a Christmas promise made thousands of years before Jesus came. When Abraham was promised offspring who would fulfil God’s covenant, it was made thousands of years before Jesus came. When Moses and the people of Israel were made promises that would be fulfilled in a coming messiah, they were made well before the coming of Jesus. When promises were made to King David, and through subsequent prophets, they were all made ahead of Jesus coming.

Unlike the Prime Minister, there was no vacillating. There was no promise one day of a messiah, with any uncertainty attached. There was no the suggestion of a messiah with the promise being whipped away. There was a promised messiah, who was promised again and again. Over many many years. Who eventually came, just as God promised. A God with whom there is no turning.

As we look at Christmas this year and wonder if we’ll get to celebrate in the end, regardless of what the Prime Minister says today, we can rely on the promises of God. We can trust that what he says will come to pass, as it always has and forever will do.