Do you have a wishlist? Recently I began the arduous task of sifting through various wishlists to pick out just the right present for each person. But, to me, the best gifts are not the ones found on a list, but the ones discovered in the little moments of life. Perhaps it’s happened to you- you make a passing comment in conversation, so passing in fact that you forgot you said it, but your friend tucks it away in his or her mind. They make a special note to get the gift that you love.
When you open your gifts, what is the most surprising and delightful gift of all? The one from the person who remembered what you said. In a world of wish lists, nothing beats thoughtfulness. That, in my mind, is the perfect Christmas present.
And you can have confidence that God will remember his promises to you. Nothing beats God’s sovereign “memory,” his sovereign “thoughtfulness,” his sovereign care.
Scripture teaches that God is omniscient, knowing all things, and yet it says he “remembers” us and his promises. So we have to ask the obvious question- why would God talk about himself in this way? The five-dollar word is anthropomorphism, which simply means God intentionally describes himself with human traits so we can better understand his character.
So when God “remembers” his covenant, it doesn’t mean he somehow forgot what he promised. It means that God is taking action on the basis of His covenant promises. So the Psalm writer prays,
He is asking God to save him just like God will save Israel. He is asking God to act on the basis of previously made promises.
We pray this way all the time. We ask God to take action based on the promises we read in his Word. We ask him to remember us.
But if we only call on God to remember us, we will fail to see the entire picture. It’s like completing the border of a puzzle but leaving the inside in pieces. You see, it’s not just that God remembers, it’s that he wants us to remember something, too.
What should we remember? In the book of Psalms God calls the nation of Israel to remember their own history. In it they find repeated evidence of God’s covenant loyalty. Did they remember the lives of Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, and Aaron? Did they remember the events of the Exodus? Did they remember the wilderness wanderings? Did they remember the possession of the Promised Land (Ps. 105:12-44; 135:4-12; 136:10-24)? If they remembered those miraculous moments, they would find abundant reasons to trust in God. And so can we. Because God “remembers” us, we can, along with Israel, “remember the wondrous works that he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he uttered” (Ps. 105:5-6).
So before you update your wish list, I’d encourage you to stop and consider what God has done for you. Remember this Christmas that he sent his Son Jesus to be born as a baby and live a perfect, sinless life. Remember that Jesus willingly chose to go to the cross and die for your sins and my sins. Remember that Christ rose from the grave, proving his deity and securing his exultation. Remember the gospel and believe (Philippians 2:5-11).
We can place our full confidence and trust in God because he remembers us. But it all starts with remembering him and what he has already done. Remembering God and his work in Jesus Christ is the best gift you can offer God this Christmas.