And Abram said, "Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir." And behold, the word of the LORD came to him: "This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir." And he brought him outside and said, "Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them." Then he said to him, "So shall your offspring be." And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness. (Genesis 15:3-6)
Back in Genesis 12, God made a promise to Abraham that he would be a blessing to all the nations of the earth. At the time, Abraham was seventy-five years old. Now about ten years later, he still has no children and is wondering how this promise is going to be fulfilled. How is Abraham going to be a “great nation” if he cannot have children of his own? Thus, God takes him outside and shows him all the stars in the heavens, which would have been an amazing sight to see in the ancient world before the days of light pollution. Abraham would have been able to see far more stars with the naked eye than we are able to see today. Then God makes him a promise that someday his descendants will be as numerous as the stars in the sky. Amazingly, Abraham, a man of eighty-five years of age, whose wife is seventy-five years old, simply believes God with his whole heart and God credits it to him as righteousness.
This promise comes to fruition in the coming of the Messiah—the birth of Christ. Scripture tells us that this promise given to Abraham was, in fact, the promise of Christ coming into the world to die on the cross for sinners in order to redeem a people to himself. Not only that, but in the coming of Christ into the world, in his life, death, and resurrection, all those who place faith in Christ are adopted into the family of God. Christ becomes our brother. God the Father becomes our Father. The Holy Spirit gives birth to our souls and makes us alive in Christ. The spiritual descendants of Abraham have truly become more numerous than the stars in the heavens. Two-thousand years ago, Christ came into the world to create a family for God. This is what we celebrate during the Advent season!
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