Monday, December 24, 2012


I have been thinking a lot about gifts this week but not the kind that you put under the tree.  No... I've had a different perspective... you see, eight days ago I underwent surgery.  I'm back at home and healing nicely but it wasn't how I planned on spending Christmas.  If I had chosen, this wouldn't have been the time.  There's so much that needs to be done.  Finish the shopping, then the wrapping.  Do some baking and some cleaning.  Take in some events.  Finish planning others.  Instead, my hectic, fast-paced Christmas season came to a screeching halt and my world became still.  At first glance, I wouldn't have called this a gift - at least, not a nice one.

It's amazing how our point of view changes when we become still.  In the quietness, we appreciate things that we have barely noticed from high gear.  Things that normally provoke stress can be consumed by prevailing peace and even enjoyed.  Case in point - decorating the Christmas tree with my children.  As I was resigned to sit and watch rather than control, it was amazing how beautiful the whole scenario could be.

I guess that's when I began to really recognize this surgery and period of recuperation - over Christmas - as a good gift and not an intrusion.  In the stillness I found peace from the frenzy, joy in the little things and savored Christ in Christmas.  I almost missed it.  The packaging wasn't what I expected. 

God gives good gifts - all the time.  We are either just moving to fast to see them or we dismiss them because they don't come wrapped in the packaging we expected.  That's what God did with Jesus.  The people were longing and waiting for the arrival of the Messiah - the King.  But, they weren't expecting Him to be born of a peasant girl - in a stable instead of a palace.

When Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey some thirty years later, they expected Him to set-up His earthly kingdom, not lay down His earthly life.  God's ways are much higher than our ways.  When we expect Him to act like just a better form of us, we are going to miss Him entirely. 

I wonder where you're at this Christmas... Do you find yourself longing and waiting for something?  Someone?  Are you craving peace?  Stillness?  Hope?  Joy?  Perhaps you didn't recognize the packaging.  These things cannot be found in the bright, sparkling things of the world.  Oh, the wrapping might be enticing but inside the package is empty.  These things that we are really craving can only be satisfied in Jesus! 

Has an unexpected package arrived in your life?  Maybe it's the very thing that will cause you to stop and look and see...

Romans 6:22-23

The Message (MSG)

But now that you’ve found you don’t have to listen to sin tell you what to do, and have discovered the delight of listening to God telling you, what a surprise! A whole, healed, put-together life right now, with more and more of life on the way! Work hard for sin your whole life and your pension is death. But God’s gift is real life, eternal life, delivered by Jesus, our Master.

God, thank You for the gift of really living today and the promise of endless tomorrows.  Thank You for sending Your Son - the King of kings - born of a virgin peasant girl to pay the pension for my sin.  Thank You for interrupting the busyness of my life and helping me to see all over again.  Thank You for loving me so much that You sent me the gift of stillness - wrapped up in stitches and gauze - so that once again I could see Your great love for me!

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