“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you: he is Christ the Lord.”
Have you ever received a gift you were not expecting? Too often in our culture we become expectant of gifts and generosity, so when we receive a gift on Christmas or a birthday, we have grown to expect this kindness and find great disappointment when we don’t get what we want or our expectations are not met. I remember the wonder and shock of experiencing Christmas as a child and the great joy of unexpected generosity. Recently I saw a movie with a couple of guys and most of us had seen the trailer, but Paul Warren had not. The movie was running smoothly along one plot line and then took a seemingly unexpected twist we had all seen in the trailer. Paul was astounded and enjoyed the movie more than all of us because he got to experience the shock and surprise in real time instead of weeks before. When we read the Christmas story, we become less shocked and surprised every year. We expect there to be no room in the inn and for angels to appear to shepherds watching their flocks at night. Next time you read your kids the story of Christmas, listen to your tone of voice, because many of us have grown bored with the repetition of reading the greatest event in human history. We no longer experience the panic of the shepherds and the gravity that a child has been born to THEM and to US. Christ was not born to live a quiet life for Himself and His family, He was born to bring us into His family and that is a big, big deal.
Have you ever received a gift you did not deserve? Maybe like me you were a selfish child who demanded attention and celebration on your birthday and in spite of your wickedness, you were still blessed by your parents and friends. I have a friend who’s sister cried on Christmas in her mid to late teens because her brother got an iPod and she didn’t, not knowing her parents had gotten her one too but she hadn’t opened it yet. Maybe your family couldn’t afford a lavish Christmas, but somehow your parents found a way to come through against all odds. We have all experienced these emotions in some way or another because we are God’s children and He showers us with gifts we take for granted on a daily basis. Christ’s birth was not only a gift many weren’t expecting, His life was a gift we did not deserve. We were in direct opposition and actively fighting our Creator and instead of annihilating us, He sent us His Son and orchestrated a way for us to have peace. As we look forward to celebrating Christmas in whatever tradition our families have, remember the awe and majesty of God’s gift to us through Christ and remember this miraculous gift came to us when we were running as far as we could from our Heavenly Father. God has been so good to us and we have a wonderful opportunity for reflection this advent season.