When I was growing up, every Christmas my brother, sister, and I would exchange gifts. The hardest part of the process for the giver was to wrap it so that the receiver of the gift would not know what it was. Of course, we would feel and shake the packages and try to pry clues out of one another about the gift we were getting. Many times, the gifts were guessed before they were unwrapped on Christmas Day.
One year my brother bought me the 45 RPM record of the latest Elvis Presley hit. It was too odd – shaped for a box, so he had to wrap it in a way that I would not guess what it was. I recall that he wrapped something else with it, like one of his figurines or a ball so it was an odd-looking package. I tried hard to figure out what it was and even guessed it to be a 45 record, but my brother denied it. His clues were such that it made me believe that it was something unusual. He really made it sound like it was the most awesome gift he had ever gotten me or that anyone would get me.
I remember when I opened the gift to find that it was the 45 RPM record, I was disappointed. He had done such a good job of describing it to me that I anticipated silver, gold and diamonds. Of course, when I look back on what he said, he did describe it accurately, but it was my expectation and imagination that took me down a different path.
When I think of that Christmas gift, I am reminded that Jesus’s birth was much the same. His birth was foretold hundreds of years before it happened. While the clues given were accurate, it was all based on interpretation and hope. The Jewish people were basically expecting a great King that would come and destroy their enemies (the Romans). They would rise and be a great people again.
Jesus as a human met none of their expectations. Yes, He is a great King and will destroy our enemies and those who believe will be a great people. All this is from an eternal perspective and not from a human finite one.
Jesus was born while his parents were traveling. His hospital was a stable, and his cradle was a food receptacle for animals. Although, both his parents were descendants of King David, they had no status and were poor and quiet. Jesus had left His heavenly throne to become like those He loved so dearly – human.
His birth did not pass without some heavenly fanfare to mark the occasion. There was a bright, unusual star and the host of heavenly angels praising God to mark the birth of God’s only Son. These events brought shepherds and eventually, wise men to worship Him. Those whose hearts longed for and were opened to Him found Him. That still happens to this day.
Jesus was born in humble surroundings and was a servant. He loved people and wanted to save them from the things that ruins lives and causes broken relationships. He is more concerned with our soul and eternity than our physical being and earthly status. His desire is for us to love one another and love God above all else. He came in physical form as a child to give us a glimpse of God, so we would know Him. Christmas is a time to reflect on Jesus and our relationship with Him. We can rejoice in the fact that He’s walked in our shoes and is a God who truly knows us. Praise God for sending Jesus to us!
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6