Merry Christmas Eve! This might be my favorite day of the entire year—the anticipation is the best part! Because we want to help you spend today and tomorrow filled with wonder and praise to Jesus Christ, we’re sharing this brief devotional with you. It’s a page pulled from Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth’s wonderful Advent devotional, The First Songs of Christmas. Pour another cup of steaming coffee, snuggle in a blanket by your tree, and worship the God who keeps every single one of His promises. He is faithful. To you, to me. On Christmas, and on every day of the year. The warmest of Christmas wishes and hugs. —Samantha, LYWB.com manager
And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever” (Luke 1:46–55).
Do you remember the condition of Narnia when it first appears in C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe? It’s always winter there, but never Christmas. The White Witch, who calls herself the queen of Narnia, has placed the land under a curse, leaving it covered in snow and ice, where it had remained for years and years.
The final book of the Old Testament ends with threats of a curse, with warnings of the judgment of God. “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction” (Mal. 4:5–6). If not for the covenant that God intended to reestablish, there would be no hope for the future. Either He would show us mercy, or else everything was over.
And that’s where He left the world hanging for four hundred years, not saying another word to people on planet Earth. He understood, in order for the gospel to ever be good news to us, we would need to sit under the weight of not knowing. We would need to experience the heaviness of the curse—its darkness, its despair, its dismay.
Then finally, all those centuries later . . . a crack in the ice. An angel foretells the birth of John the Baptist (the “Elijah” in Malachi’s prophecy). The forerunner of Messiah is coming. Though the news occurs quietly in a small corner of the world, it’s like a little splash of joy, landing on frozen ground. Then an angel appears to Mary, a young girl in Nazareth. The Christ child, prophesied of old, is coming as a baby, born of a virgin. Another splash of joy, signaling the end of sin’s rule and reign.
Generations of Old Testament believers, throughout those four hundred long years, had lived and died without ever seeing the fulfillment of the promises God had made in ages past. The easiest conclusion to draw was that He had abandoned His program, that His faithfulness was at an end.
But Mary knew different. She was there when the ice began to weaken and fracture. She was there when the blessing that God had decreed to Abraham came to life inside her teenage body. And having been there, she could know by faith (as we can) that the things spoken to Abraham long ago will continue unabated into the future, thawing the effects of the curse “to his offspring forever.”
Mary’s song (the Magnificat) ends where the fulfillment of God’s promises began. We sing today because God remembered His covenant. We sing today because everything He has spoken, He will never fail to perform.
Lord, the evidence of Your kept promise is seen in the face of Jesus. You have lifted the curse. You have kept Your Word. I live with hope today because of Your faithfulness to Your people, redeeming and making all things new. During this season of Advent, remind me afresh that my future in You is equally sure, but only (again) in the face, in the name, of Jesus.