We hear over and over, "Make your Christmas list! When my kids were little they each had a Christmas list. Actually, by the time Christmas Day arrived their lists had changed many, many times. It was hard to keep up! My natural tendency is to go against a Christmas list - not in a Scrooge sort of way but in a surprise sort of way. If I just give gifts from a list the surprise of Christmas morning is really not possible. And I like to give surprise gifts that are right on the mark! It's the unexpected gifts I give and receive that I love the most.
The story of Christmas is much the same. Jesus was expected in one way and came to earth in another. It was an unexpected arrival, an unexpected gift, in an unexpected way of delivery. I suppose a christmas list back in the days before Jesus' arrival were something like this:
A strong, powerful King
A commander who will defeat the enemies surrounding our country
A ruler who will restore and keep order
A leader who will demand people follow his rules for peace and harmony
But unexpectedly, Jesus arrived as an innocent baby boy. How could we ever have expected such a turn of events? And now that the Christ child has arrived in our world how could we have ever imaged a more perfect gift? The expectations of our proverbial Christmas morning gift opening' have been surpassed....or have they?
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,“Glory to God in the highest heaven,and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. Luke 2 excerpts
The shepherds were surprised at this unexpected visit. They were simply at work, doing their normal 9 to 5 shift. I would think they were caught up in the drudgery of another work-day. Perhaps they were worried about bills to pay, children, the future. Their expectation of a Saviour was a distant hope perhaps. And suddenly the unexpected night became a new life, a new journey as they went immediately to see this new baby. And then they hurried off to tell others, to share the unexpected turn of events. For you see, as we have truth revealed to us we then are propelled to share it, shout it, reveal the restoration we've received. Our unexpected pains are transformed to His unexpected, over-surpassing love and healing and hope.
Is the Jesus you worship today revealing Himself differently than you expect? Whatever your life involves right now, today....are you expecting a different Jesus? Are you disappointed that the Saviour has not arrived in your world and completely FIXED everything that is troubling you? Were you expecting Him to look differently and act differently and help you differently? Yes. I'll answer for you. Life has not been what I exactly expected. My original Christmas list did not include: deaths, drug addiction, divorce, harsh words, nursing homes, chronic pain, losing friends, emotional abuse, etc. etc. etc.
But the arrival of Jesus does fully complete our expectation for love, for forgiveness and for hope. For He has come into this world and into my life not as I expected but as I needed. He has come to me and to you perfectly. He has come offering us life. He has come as a Redeemer, Healer, Restorer, King, Warrior, Peacemaker, Servant, Love of my life, Creator, my Purpose, Friend, Lover, Final Victor....over my world, over my pain, over my joy, over my blessings and over my very short-sighted expectations.
Lord Jesus, I simply love you. I don't understand so much of how you're working in my world today. But I trust and hope in Your presence. Replace my human expectations with Your heavenly promises. I pray today that I'll SEE people in my world living unexpecting lives so that I can give them the love they deeply desire but are not expecting.
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