“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David,
…that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all our days (Luke 1:68-69, 74-75).
One of our dear pastors recently preached on the above text (Dec. 23, 2013), reminding us what God initiated in history by the birth of Christ. Pastor Scott used the recognizable illustration of children waiting in a vehicle as their parents make all the last-minute preparations and checks that seem to accompany every major trip. At long last and after much ado, the parents seat themselves, buckle up, and actually begin to drive away toward the family’s destination. They are not at their destination, but there is joy and excitement, because the car is finally on the move, making its way toward the objective.
Such is our joy when we consider that first Christmas. Even though God’s plan of salvation would not be achieved until Christ’s cross and resurrection and his earthly kingdom is yet to be established, after hundreds of years of promise and waiting, because of Christmas, the car is finally on the move! Or, as C.S. Lewis put it in his Narnian tale, “Aslan (his Christ-like figure) is on the move!”
I always borrow an illustration from Dana when I teach my students about God’s promises, likening them to arrows shot at the point of promise and winging their way over time and history to their sure destination. Every single promise made in Scripture has landed or will land exactly at its appointed time; they are as good as achieved because their reliability depends solely on the Promise Maker. Praise be to our covenant-keeping God!
That first Christmas set in motion the fulfillment of God’s promise made way, way back in the Garden of Eden – an offspring of Eve would bruise the head of our great enemy (Gen. 3:15). And sure enough, “…when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman…” (Gal. 4:4); a “horn of salvation.”
As Luke 1 declares (above), those who have been delivered by faith from this enemy (Eph. 2:8-9), find themselves free to serve the living God without fear and trembling; indeed, he is our Father, which art in heaven. We are no longer under condemnation, but, instead, wear the righteousness of his faultless Son. “The dwelling place of God will be with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God” (Rev. 21:3)… all our days. This is no cruel temporary promise, but will be our joy throughout time and eternity. So on the cusp of this new year, take heart in the waiting, dear ones… Aslan IS on the move.
[Part of painting by Norman Rockwell – Going and Coming, 1947]