Some time later, the Lord spoke to Abram in a vision and said to him, "Do not be afraid, Abram, for I will protect you, and your reward will be great." But Abram replied, "O Sovereign Lord, what good are all your blessings when I don't even have a son? Since you've given me no children, Eliezer of Damascus, a servant in my household, will inherit all my wealth. You have given me no descendents of my own, so one of my servants will be my heir." The the Lord said to him, "No, your servant will not be your heir, for you, will have a son of your own who will be your heir." Then the Lord took Abram outside and said to him, "Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That's how many descendents you will have!" And Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith.
The beautiful part of the Christmas story is that it unfolds throughout the Old Testament in a series of promises from God. If Abram had never had a son, then the entire story of redemption would have turned out so different. God promised a son, and God fulfilled a promise. If you read through the history of God's people, then you see that he is a God who keeps his promises. It is amazing how easily we forget that when all the troubles of life threaten to bury us. God has promised that he would be with us. He has vowed to carry our burdens. Why do we always insist on trying to handle what he has promised to handle for us?
It is amusing to me that God asked Abram to count the stars. Think about the insanity of that request. Have you ever been miles from the nearest city in the darkest night of the year? To attempt to count the stars is an exercise in absurdity. There is no way to count all of those stars. God promised that Abram's descendents would be as numerous as the stars. All of that promise hinged on the first promise to Abram. God promised a son and kept that promise in Isaac. He also promise Abram to bless all of the families of Earth through him. He has kept that promise in the person of Jesus Christ.
Abram was living in a time prior to the law. His trust in God was counted as righteousness. We are similarly situated. There is a righteousness that has been set aside for us. It is the righteousness of Christ. We simply need to believe in Christ. As we prepare for Christmas, I pray that we would grow stronger in our faith in the righteousness of Christ. The baby in the manger is not the end of the story. The rest of the story is still waiting to be written in the hearts of men, who would but believe in the redemption of Christ.