How Christmas surprises me every year

How Christmas surprises me every year

Christmas surprises me every year.

I’m not talking about the gifts. I’m rarely surprised by them, because I’m pretty specific about gift ideas. I don’t  particularly like surprises. (We OCD organizers are like that.)

But I’m always surprised by the impact of the Christmas story. Maybe you are, too. It’s why I get a lump in my throat when I hear “Silent Night” and “O Holy Night.” It’s why the nativity scene brings a lump to my throat.

I’m always a little surprised by the presents or the stress or the speed at which the season bears down on me. But I’m most surprised by the ironies of the Christmas story and the power they could hold over my life if I contemplated them more than once a year.

Christmas is so much more complicated than explaining how a fat man squeezes down a chimney.

Consider the complexities of the real Christmas story:

  • The Creator of the universe elects to exist as a created being.
  • A virgin conceives and gives birth to a baby boy.
  • A husband rejects a lawful divorce, in spite of the rumors his family will endure throughout their lives.
  • Deity chooses to become humanity.
  • The Immortal one becomes mortal so that we could experience perfect immortality.
  • Shepherds—uneducated, common working men—are commissioned to explain the greatest story ever told.
  • The King of all kings enters the world He created but allows the devil to rule, surrounded by farm animals. He will leave the world through an inhumane execution.
  • Heathen scientists and rulers integrate intellect, spirit, will, and emotion to embark on the most important expedition ever attempted—to follow a fixed star that has never appeared before. It will take them two years, but they will find the baby predicted living underneath the star. They believe and worship, disobey the local ruler’s commands to share the baby’s whereabouts, and disappear without fanfare.
  • Egypt gives protection to baby Jesus, the liberator of the Jews; yet his people will reject his promise and protection, just as they rejected Moses’ instructions hundreds of years before when he delivered the Jews from the Egyptians.

Christmas reminds us that Jesus came to earth, quietly and humbly, to live an ordinary life right up until His power explodes and challenges everything people have ever believed about God and themselves. He labors among the poor, diseased, hungry, and oppressed.

He loves the unlovely. He wants healing and restoration for us, not prosperity or painlessness. He’s about something deeper and more meaningful. Perhaps that’s why He chose a stable for His birthplace. Right from the start, He wanted to make a statement: My life is not about what you see or think. It’s about reaching who you are and giving you hope for what really matters.

Jesus chose human existence.

And even more startling, He chose a gruesome death, conquering the grave and provided eternal life for anyone who wanted it.

How ironic that I am consumed with shopping, baking, and decorating when such a truth can change my life! In every season, may I be reminded of God’s love and Jesus’ sacrifice!

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