"He who is mighty has done great things for me and holy is His name..." (Luke 1:49)
If you are like me you like surprises. At this time of the year we think of Christmas surprises.
I remember one Christmas time when our money was short, the children were given a little above ground pool as a gift. It was the type you have to assemble yourself after preparing the ground with sand, etc. and put the liner in. The problem was we didn't have the money to buy the sand needed to do it properly, and time was running out before Christmas. And we wanted to have the pool all assembled and filled, ready for Christmas morning for the kids.
So, one evening we all went for a walk just around the neighbourhood near our home. We walked down a street we didn't usually walk. As we were walking my husband and I were quietly discussing the fact that we needed sand to be able to make the ground suitable for assembling the pool.
Would you believe, as we walked we saw some builders' sand out on the nature strip in front of a house. It looked like the owners of the house had been doing some renovations and the house was all finished and they had dumped the leftover sand out on the nature strip. The owner was out in the front yard and we stopped and said hello and in the process he mentioned that the sand was there for anyone to take, as he didn't need it. We asked what he wanted for it and he said he'd be glad to have someone take it away, to get rid of it. We told him we could use it and then went home, got the car and trailer and came and removed the sand. The kids were wondering what we wanted sand for.
When we went to spread out the sand we found it was exactly the amount we needed to make the right base for under the pool - right down to the last centimeter! What a lovely surprise that was! We have often thought of how God provided for us that and many other times.
Christmas surprises! We love them, don't we? Did you realize that God also loves to surprise His children? Just like a good dad loves to give his children surprises - God loves to surprise us. Matthew 7:7-11 says, "What man is there among you, who if his son asks for bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you, then being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in Heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him?"
The very first Christmas was full of Christmas surprises.
The virgin birth was certainly a surprise. Mary's surprised response to the news of the angel to her was "How can this be?" She was given the answer recorded in Luke 1:35, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God." And later, in verse 37, "For with God nothing will be impossible."
Joseph's response to the surprise news was a troubled heart and mind until the angel came to him and said, "Do not be afraid."
Jesus, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, was not born into a home of a king or a rich family, but into a very poor family. Even Mary, when considering the news of the angel to her, said, "He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant..." (Luke 1:48)
Even though there was the prophecy in Micah 5:2-3 that Bethlehem Ephrathah was going to be the birthplace of the Messiah, people still did not comprehend that.
"But, you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be ruler in Israel, whose goings forth have been from of old from everlasting."
A little, insignificant town became the place of the birth of Jesus Christ into this world.
Our daughter and son-in-law, when expecting their baby, spent a lot of time preparing the baby's room. They bought a second hand cot and sanded and varnished it. She made cot sheets and wall hangings and a lace cover for the bassinet, etc. all in preparation for their first child.
But, what a surprise "nursery" awaited the little baby Jesus. A feed trough for a bed and a cow shed for a nursery! Nothing lovely and special about it. Have you ever wondered why Jesus faced such humble circumstances? Perhaps it was because He wanted to identify with the poorest of the poor while He was here on earth. He certainly always had compassion and love for the poor. There is no dishonor in being poor. He Himself was born to a poor family and grew up amongst the poor class of society.
God incarnate (in the flesh) placed in a manger of hay! What a surprise nursery!
The very first visitors to see Baby Jesus had better than an engraved gold invitation! - The very angel who served the Lord God personally invited them. Not only were they surprised when told the news of Jesus' birth. They must have been overwhelmed to think that they were the invited guests to see Jesus. Think of it, no grandparents to hold that precious baby. No friends nearby to share the news. God chose to break the news to lowly, humble shepherds. And those shepherds became the first to spread word of Jesus.
The only other "visitors" to baby Jesus in that stable were the animals that surrounded him there. No sweet lullaby music played on cassettes or CD's but the lowing of the cattle, the sounds of the horses or donkeys or whatever animals were there. What surprise visitors!
Later, of course, when Mary and Joseph had some type of temporary accommodation, the wise men came to visit. Visitors from far away who followed His star to get there.
And, what gifts these surprise wise men brought! Gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh - for a baby!
"Eye has not seen nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him." (1 Corinthians 2:9)
In spite of circumstances, Mary said: "My soul rejoices in God my Saviour."
Mary was still poor. Still had a long walk (150+ km walk) to Bethlehem, no lovely nursery for the baby, fear of Herod, etc. Circumstances of life were still hard.
But she knew JOY in her heart.
We can have joy in our hearts, no matter what the circumstances of life.
"My soul magnifies (or, declares the greatness of) my Saviour." (Luke 1:46)
Luke 1:50 "His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation."
v. 51 "He has shown strength with His arm. He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts."
"He has helped His servant Israel." (verse 54)
Do you know His Joy, Peace, Hope and day by day Strength?
Just as we love to give surprises to our children with presents, the Heavenly Father wants to surprise you with His presence through His Joy, Peace, Hope and Strength. All we have to do is to open our minds and hearts to Him.
Allow Him to make His presence known to you.
Unless otherwise stated, all Bible quotations are from the New King James Version.
Holiness, godliness, righteousness, and Christ-likeness in personal and church life