A God of Surprises
Christmas Day is more than half over. The presents are all opened and some have been tried out already. We’ve eaten our Christmas “dinner” of glazed spiral ham, garlic mashed potatoes, cornbread stuffing, and rosemary cauliflower and carrots. There’s still pecan pie for dessert, but I’m still too full.
Last night we attended a wonderful Christmas Eve candlelight service at church. It is my favorite service of the year. We always close by singing Silent Night as each person lights their candle from the candle of the person beside or in front of them. All the other lights are dimmed and by the end of the song the place is lit mostly by candlelight. It always amazes me how all of those small flames can add up to such a bright light. It is a wonderful reminder of how we each carry the light of Christ in our hearts and together we can light the world with His love.
We had a guest speaker, Steve Halliday, who shared a message of the surprise of Christmas. Even though God foretold the coming of the Messiah, with at least 100 Old Testament prophecies regarding His birth alone, when it actually happened Jesus’ birth was full of surprises. Instead of the King coming to earth into a rich and well-connected family, He was born to a young peasant girl and a carpenter. Instead of being born in a posh hospital, He was born in a lowly stable. Instead of announcing His birth to royalty and aristocrats, the angels brought news of the Messiah’s birth to lowly shepherds. Nothing was what you would expect; it was all full of surprises.
Steve shared a story of how when he was a child his older sister always tried to guess what her Christmas presents were. She would shake, squeeze, and hold presents up to the light trying to figure what was in the box. She didn’t like to wait and wanted to know what the surprise was. His story reminded me of the time, when I was 9 or 10, that I really wanted to know what was in my presents. One day before Christmas, when no one was home, I carefully peeled the tape and opened every one of my presents, discovering what each one was. Christmas was not the same that year. There was no surprise on Christmas morning (though I had to feign surprise so as not to be found out!).
The rest of the Christmas Eve message was that God still has surprises for us today. We might have some idea what He is going to do because He has told us in His Word. He will give us wisdom if we ask. James 1:5. He will answer our prayers if we pray in His name. John 14:13-14. He will take care of all our needs. Matthew 6:31-33. The real question is how will He fulfill these promises. Therein lies the surprise. And if the incarnation is any indication, all of God’s surprises will be wonderful, indeed.
I often complain that I wish God would let me in on His plan. Seems my tendency to want to know what my presents are ahead of time is still there. But I think I’ve learned my lesson. As I thought about the promise of God’s surprises and the disappointment I felt that Christmas morning when I knew what all my presents were going to be, I realized that it is best not to know ahead of time what God has planned. It is better to have faith that the fulfillment of His promises will be better than I can ever imagine. Then when His surprises come I’ll be delighted by the wonder of His glorious gifts.
On this Christmas Day, I wish you all the wonder and joy of the surprises God has in store for you!
“I often complain that I wish God would let me in on His plan.” …. I know the feeling, Linda.
The good thing is, nothing surprises Him and I can’t hide my true feelings from Him either! It’s challenging at times to trust Him to lead me one step at a time but I’m trying to take it in stride.
Ann, I’m learning patience, too. Seems like a neverending lesson! You are so right that nothing surprises Him, and what a comfort that is. May we both complain less and trust more in the year to come. Peace and Blessed New Year, Linda
I used to shake, squeeze and rattle the presents too. Never gave me any useful information 🙁
Your post today reminds me anew to keep my eyes on the present (no pun intended), and wait for God to reveal things in his timing. I will stop trying to rattle the box sent by God. I’ll just let him reveal it. Thank you very much Linda. Awesome. God Bless you and yours.
Craig, At least you didn’t open them all! I’ll never forget the disappointment of that Christmas. But I’m never disappointed by the gifts of God! They are always a wonderful surprise. Here’s to a new year full of surprises. 🙂 Peace, Linda
This gave me goosebumps Linda! He really uses you in a special way and this message felt like it was so for me!!! So thankful for you and the surprises He has in store for us all! God bless you!
Deb, You are so kind with your encouraging comments. 🙂 You were one of the wonderful surprises I received from God this year! I had no idea by blogging I would make such good new friends. Peace, Linda
That is a great thought! Sometimes I find myself wanting to now how He is going to do certain things in my life. I like this analogue and have a feeling that it will stick in my mind. 🙂
Ben, I love when a message in church speaks to me as this one did. Now I know why I opened all those presents so many years ago – it was part of God’s wonderful surprise for me today! I’m glad you liked this one. Analogies that stick are the best kind. Peace, Linda
Linda I love this post so much!
It makes me feel so excited about God’s surprises for me
— I know it’s all about good things no matter how it is wrapped!
Rea, I’m sure He does have some wonderful surprises in store for you! Anyone who has been as excited about the miracle of Christmas as you have been is sure to be blessed by God more than you can imagine. 🙂 Peace, Linda
Nancy, Thank you for the nice comment. Peace, Linda