Monday, December 24, 2012

The Unexpected Gift

He took with him Mary, his fiancée, who was now obviously pregnant.”            Luke 2:5 NLT
            Have you ever received a strange gift?  One that was a shocker – totally unexpected!
            It happened to me one year while teaching fifth and sixth graders.  Children love to give a gift to their teacher at Christmas: a hankie, a tie, an ornament, or some other trinket.  But on this one occasion I received a shoe box wrapped in Christmas paper (newspaper comics).  It felt rather heavy and I wondered what possibly could be inside.  It rattled when I shook it, and my curiosity was rising by the minute.  It was given to me by a small boy that I knew came from a very poor family.   As I opened the box, I steeled myself for the unexpected.  Inside was a small bundle of black coal.  Without hesitation, I smiled and said, “This is the most practical gift I’ve ever received.”  Little Jimmy gave me the most valuable possession he could find in his home. 
            When God gave us His Christmas gift it took people by surprise and came in a totally unexpected manner. 
            Who would have expected a Holy Righteous God to choose a young virgin teenager to bear his long awaited Messiah?  When the angel Gabriel came to Mary at Nazareth he said, “Greeting favored one!  The LORD is with you.”  (Luke 1:27)  This greeting caught Mary by surprise and she was confused and disturbed.  I’m sure she wondered, “What kind of greeting is this and what does it mean.”  Fortunately, Gabriel didn’t leave her in that state of mind, but said, “You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus.  He will be very great and will be called the son of the Most High.  The LORD will give him the throne of his ancestor David.”  (Luke 1:31-32 NLT).
            Was Mary shocked at this announcement?  Yes!  Did she consider herself worthy?  No!  What kind of thoughts entered her mind?  Did she wonder, “Why me?”  Don’t we tend to utter the “why God” questions when the unexpected happens?  To think that God would entrust his most valuable possession to an inexperienced young Jewish teenager baffles the mind.  But we learn from history that Mary did a remarkable job of raising Jesus from babyhood to manhood.
            What will you do with the unexpected gift of Jesus Christ this Christmas?  Will you keep his Messianic birth to yourself or share it with others?  

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