“When I come, it will surprise you like a thief! But God will bless you, if you are awake and ready.” Revelations 16:15
Christmas is a Surprise.
Let me explain. The word appears in Luke’s account of that first Christmas. “And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them…” Surprise! Didn’t see this one coming did ya! They had grown comfortable in their rituals, habits and expectations and were caught totally unaware. You thought you had it all figured out, you thought you knew what God would do, what God wouldn't do and how you could control them both. Well, guess again! Surprised ya!
Surprise: (tr.v.) 1. To encounter suddenly or unexpectedly; take or catch unawares and without warning.
Without warning. Out of nowhere. When you least expect it. God shows up. Israel had endured almost 400 years of divine silence. God had not spoken since the book of Malachi. The people had fallen into the routine they called life. It was all about the job, the family, the house, the status. Do you know what that’s like? Just going through the motions, neither hot nor cold sorta “lukewarm”? Annoying crowds, long lines, bills to pay, visits to make, cards to write, cooking to do, decoration, etc. (but I digress...) Their relationship to God had become a lifeless ritual, lacking passion or expectations. Kind of like insurance. It’s hard to get the heart beating passionately over life insurance. If the people of Israel even still believed in the real Messiah, they certainly weren't expecting it that night! But then… (surprise) God’s plan was revealed with an angelic entourage. The heavens declared that God always keeps His promises. Christmas should remind all of us that God loves to surprise His children. (I wonder if Lazarus’ first words after coming out of the tomb were ‘surprise’?) When we least expect it He will suddenly show up because God loves to challenge our thinking and our expectations. If it seems like you have been waiting forever, don’t lose heart. Remember that first Christmas. Remember the angel and the look of disbelief on the faces of the shepherds. Its the same look you'll have someday when God shows up. Remember, God has something waiting for you. Surprised! (1) Are you waiting for a surprise or just waiting for time to pass? (2) What was the best surprise you've ever had in life? what does that tell you about yourself and about God? (3) What surprises are you planning to invite other to share in?
“There is no surprise more magical than the surprise of being loved.” Charles Morgan