Next year is an election year. The candidates have already made a plethora of promises about the economy, immigration and the war on terror. Politicians, however, are notorious for making campaign promises they can’t or don’t keep.
In 1988, George Bush the elder repeatedly insisted, “Read my lips – no new taxes!” But a spiraling deficit and a Democratic congress made that promise impossible to keep. In 1940, FDR made this campaign promise: “I have said it before, but I shall say it again and again and again. Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars.” Less than a year later, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and the United States entered World War II. In 1964, LBJ campaigned with the promise: “No troops to Vietnam.” Well, you know how that worked out.
My favorite, though, is Herbert Hoover who in 1928 promised continued prosperity for every American. He promised “a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage.” Nine months into his presidency, however, the stock market crashed, plunging the country into the Great Depression.
There’s a T V show I used to watch about the presidency called The West Wing. In one episode, the president was forced to break a campaign promise he had made because, in the end, it was what was best for the country. After doing so, though, he said something which stuck with me. He said, “Our mistake wasn’t breaking a promise. It was making a promise we couldn’t keep.”
God doesn’t make promises he cannot keep. At this time of year, children often count down the days until Christmas. They impatiently ask, “Is it Christmas yet?” I’ve often wondered if God’s people of the Old Testament ever asked that question. At times it must have seemed that Christmas was never going to come.
God first made the promise of a Savior to Adam Eve thousands of years before Jesus was born. He promised Abraham that the Savior would be born from his family, but that was 2,000 years before Jesus was born. God promised King David that one of his descendants would be the Messiah, but that was still 1,000 years before Jesus was born. The last book of the Old Testament once again promised that the Savior was coming, but that was 400 years before Jesus was born – roughly 146,000 days until Christmas.
Yet, when the time was just right, God kept his promise. Christmas finally came. Jesus, the Savior of the world, the seed of Eve, the son of Abraham, the descendant of David, was born.
God always keeps his promises. Sometimes it doesn’t seem that way. Sometimes it seems like everything is falling apart, like God has forgotten, like he doesn’t care.
That’s why Christmas is so important. It proves that God keeps his promises. God has promised to always love you, to always be with you, to make all things work for your eternal good. He promises you forgiveness and heaven through faith in Jesus.
Those are promises you can count on. How can I be sure? Just look in the stable. Look at the manger. There’s the proof.
God always keeps his promises.