“While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.”
Christmas is the season of surprises. As a child, surprises at Christmas often come in the form of unexpected presents, like the year I got my 3-speed blue bike. (I know three speeds doesn’t sound like much today, but back then that was something special.) And even better, we had an unusually warm Christmas that year, so we were able to ride our bikes on Christmas day!
When you think about the first Christmas, there were all kinds of unexpected surprises…some were wonderful, some dangerous, some inconvenient, and some miraculous.
Who would have expected a virgin to have a child?
Who would have expected outcast shepherds to be the first witnesses of the Christ child?
Who would have expected to find the God of the universe, as a weeping, wailing baby in a manger in Bethlehem?
Yes, our God is a God of surprises!
As we prepare our hearts for the celebration of our Lord’s birth, let’s be open to the God of surprises. Mary was surprised by a visit from an angel, Elizabeth was surprised by pregnancy in her old age, and Joseph was surprised by a fiancée who was pregnant by God’s spirit. Each week, in worship during Advent, we will be traveling the road from Nazareth, to the hill country of Judea, and on to Bethlehem, and the manger, meeting the surprising men and women who were part of the first Christmas. As we see how Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth, the shepherds, and others responded to God’s surprising activities in their lives, we will reflect on God’s surprising activity in our own lives and how we can respond to God’s most amazing surprise of all…God came to earth.
Join us for worship this Advent and Christmas season as we learn about and experience the God of surprises on our Journey to Bethlehem.
Grace and peace,