Promises can be found all over the place! Ads on television promise everything from to beautiful white teeth to cars that parallel park themselves. Pill bottles promise you’ll lose 20 pounds or have more energy. Sometimes your children promise “I’ll feed him and walk him and clean up after him!” when a new puppy is in question. If you think back over your life, memories of promises broken stick with you much longer than promises kept. We expect promises to be kept, and when they aren’t it causes disappointment and discouragement. Proverbs 13:12 tells us that “hope deferred makes the heart sick”.
Christmas reminds us of the biggest, best promise kept! The promise of a Savior and the hope of eternal life with the God who created us. Talk about hope! Because that’s what promises really are – a reason to hope. Those promises, all that hope, is found throughout scripture. The Bible is full of hope for our everyday lives, hope for our future, hope for answers to our dilemmas and wisdom to navigate our lives.
Knowing and recognizing the kept promises of God can be a great thing to share with your daughter. Look for opportunities to point out how God provides, and when He keeps His promises. Talk about the promises, use them to reassure, quote them to encourage, and refer to them when there are decisions to be made. To do this, you have to know the promises and recognize them yourself. Maybe you could make it a point in your devotional time this coming year to search out, memorize, and meditate on God’s promises. Perhaps you’ll want to list them, and note examples from your own life experiences of God’s faithfulness. Then look for opportunities to share those with your daughter. Help her see that they apply to her too, if she’s a child of God. Help her to recognize God working in her life.
Seeing God’s faithfulness should also make us more careful with our own promises. If you promise to pray for someone, pray, maybe stopping right where you are to bring their need to the Lord. If you promise someone an answer “soon”, figure it out and give them their answer. If you make a promise to your children that you are then not able to keep, explain why and offer an alternative solution. Since we know kids learn by what they see in our lives everyday, help them learn trust and respect by keeping your word. Try not to make promises to your kids that you can’t be sure you can keep, perhaps telling them you will “do your best”. When your daughter experiences a broken promise from a friend, a boy, or a teacher, talk to her about resilience, forgiveness, and learning how to how to deal with disappointment.
This Christmas, undoubtedly there will be some “promises kept” and some “hope deferred” in all those packages under the tree, but let’s make sure to emphasize as much as we can the incredible promise God kept on that first Christmas!