The promise to Eve and Adam slept through the centuries. God said the seed of the woman would crush the serpent’s head (Gen. 3:15). But seed after seed came and the serpent continued to slither.

The promise to Abraham seemed only partially fulfilled. “Look toward heaven and number the stars, if you are able. So shall your offspring be” (Gen. 15:5). Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him as righteousness… yet Abraham endured the wait of another 20 years before a child was born and centuries more before his descendants were a nation.

Hannah wept and wept and wept. The barren woman lived alone surrounded by family. She prayed something like, “Lord, won’t you give me a son?” Her husband, Elkanah, thought he should be more than enough. But husbands do not fill a woman’s longing for children (1 Sam. 1:8).

Ruth, an immigrant, serving her mother-in-law Naomi’s God, gave birth to a son. Naomi, once bitter with God, now rejoiced with all the women of Israel. Obed was not that son of promise, though this son of an immigrant woman would be an ancestor (Ruth 4:18-22).

“I will establish his throne forever” (1 Chron. 17:11), the Lord promise to King David. From then on the entire nation of Israel looked for David’s son… waiting… hoping… longing.

Century after century passed. The universe grew pregnant with hope. Not the light and easy hope of Hallmark cards. The hard-earned, fought-for, jaw-clenched, tooth-gritting hope that refuses exile, oppression, poverty, conquering armies, wicked kings, false messiahs. The hope that reminds you you’re “the people of God” even though you’re the smallest of all nations and no one else on earth recognizes your claim. The kind of hope that strengthens shoulders and legs when the weight of the world presses down on you. The Lord wanted for the world a hope that would not falter.

Then the angels announced to shepherds at night, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11).

Given not only to the first parents, Adam and Eve. Not only to the patriarch, Abraham. Not only to Hannah or Ruth. Not only unto kings like David. Unto shepherds. Unto working class men on the night shift, representing all those in obscurity—nameless, faceless, weathered by life and effort.

Unto a nation occupied by a foreign power passing decrees and imposing taxes. Unto all the nations of earth sitting in darkness and the shadow of death (Luke 1:79).

A Savior given only to the well-off could hardly be a Savior for us all.

But if God promises a Savior to people in the hardest circumstances—those who brought sin into the world, those wandering to countries they’ve not yet seen, the barren wife weeping her heart out, the foreign widow with no people of her own, kings who divide and lose kingdoms, a nation enslaved and conquered again and conquered again—then this Christ could be for everyone. Unto us all a son is given (Isa. 7:14; 9:6-7). We are the us. The Son is ours. Christmas has come—God in a manger, the Omnipotent for the weak. We sing “Joy to the World”—the entire world—only because the Incarnate Son of God comes into the world homeless, in a podunk hometown, his parents scandalized, his people oppressed, into obscurity.

Even then He was preparing to be a High Priest who sympathizes with our weakness (Heb. 4:15). Even then He was identifying with the lost (Ezek. 34:16; Luke 19:10). Even at His birth He was proving His humility—a humility that would take Him to the cross of Calvary (Phil. 2:8) and prove His gentleness toward all those who are weak and heavy burdened (Matt. 11:29-30).

What Child is this? Mary did you know? Our long expected Savior has truly come! Merry Christmas family! May your hearts and then your homes be filled with the wonder of this Son given to each and every one of us!

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Thabiti M Anyabwile

Thabiti M Anyabwile

Thabiti is one of the pastors of Anacostia River Church in Washington, DC and the president of The Crete Collective. He is the author of several books and as an introvert enjoys quiet things at home.

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