If you have kids, you’ll remember when they first grasped the concept of presents. My son was 1.5 years old when he started to understand what presents were. But he was so thrilled with the box that he didn’t realize something even better could be inside it.
Humanity as a whole is no different.
God delivered the world’s greatest gift in the plainest box possible. Bundled as a baby. Born to an impoverished young couple. Amid farm animals.
The world missed the signs: God speaking through prophecies. So they missed the event: God Incarnate.
Except for shepherds and Wise Men. The lowliest of Judean society and the most elite of a foreign society. Those two groups of people symbolically embodied the angel’s message: “Behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people” (Luke 2:10 ESV, emphasis mine).
Think about the Wise Men for a minute. Based on the prophecies they had access to, they spent months preparing elaborate gifts for a king. They knew they’d find a child but had no idea they wouldn’t find him in a royal palace. (Remember they didn’t know Micah’s prophecy.)
Now think about the shepherds. They had no financial means or time to prepare any gifts, so they gave what they could: their adoration and worship.
God honored their gifts as much as He did the Wise Men’s. Because both groups believed what they’d heard and read—and acted in faith on it.
Even so, both groups needed divine guidance to find Jesus. An angel told the shepherds what town Jesus was born in and what signs to look for to confirm they’d found Him. For the Wise Men, God’s glory in the form of a star pinpointed the house where Jesus was.
For as much as each group knew of the prophecies about Jesus, they chose to believe they were true—and they trusted that whatever they didn’t know or understand would be true as well.
In the same manner, we need divine help to find Jesus. And faith to believe what we don’t understand.
God, please help us find Christ in all the pages of Scripture. Show us the dark recesses of our hearts we’ve kept from Him. We feel confident about some of what You say. In faith, may we say that is enough for us to trust all of what You say to be true.
Jesus wasn’t what the shepherds and Wise Men expected. He came in a plain package. But He was more than anyone could have imagined.
I pray you recapture that wonder and joy this Christmas!
I’m pausing this blog until after the holiday. But I pray that whatever your Christmas looks like this year—family or no, presents or no, you can experience true joy in knowing that God has already given you the greatest gift of all!
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More Christmas songs for your enjoyment:
Chris Tomlin singing “Emmanuel”
World’s Largest Virtual Hallelujah Chorus (from Handel)
Andrea Bocelli (and terrific backup) singing “Angels We Have Heard on High”
And maybe my favorite: an exuberant, stunning piece called “Ode to Joy to the World,” with choir, bell ringers, and The Piano Guys
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