“You’d think that Mom would hide presents in a different place instead of on the same ‘ol closet shelf,” commented her oldest, Samantha, teetering on a chair in the guest room closet.
“Yesth,” agreed seven-year-old Betty, whose front teeth were missing. She peered up and spotted foil-wrapped packages glistening in the back of the closet. It was Betty’s first time raiding the Christmas closet with her siblings. What a sense of belonging!
“Mom’s great, but I don’t think she’s all that smart,” ten-year-old Pete added. “She doesn’t know we peek at the presents before Christmas morning.”
Or did she? With rumors going around that every mother is equipped with telepathic thought reading, eyes in the back of her head, and a detective’s skill at solving mysteries, the three wondered about Mom having a secret sixth sense. But if their mother knew, she never let on. Captivated by her children’s award-winning show of excitement and surprise when they opened gifts on Christmas, Mom seemed pleased.
“How could she know we peek?” Samantha bragged while poking around the top shelf from her wobbly chair. “We’re really good at it.”
Samantha checked the gift tag of a big box and cried, “It’s for me!”
As she carefully loosened the tape on the end of a box, Samantha began to fall and grabbed at the air – or the package – and landed on the floor.
Ripppppp! The sound shrieked through the air louder than a siren.
Though she taped it back as best she could, the gift looked like it was definitely the victim of a crime–breaking and entering.
“Mom will know who did it!” Samantha cried.
That’s when Samantha and her siblings realized they took the surprise out of Christmas.
Peekin’ before the holiday leaves no room for jaw-dropping astonishment.
Perhaps that’s why 700 years before Jesus was born, there were still surprises to see and mysteries to investigate.
Israelites were in trouble. Many made bad choices and rejected God and his laws. Yet they were promised a great light dawning, a Prince of Peace, a leader in government. [Isaiah 9:6-8] They grasped for hope they desperately needed.
But Jesus came in God’s time and way. A helpless baby began life in a stable full of animals and germs. His mother and step-father were poor. But Jesus, the baby, then grown man, is the Christ.
When the angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds, he said, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” [Luke 2:9-12]
As he grew to adulthood, it became evident that Jesus is the Messiah of promise with miracles and prophecies that came true. Still, people’s ideas and God’s are different. They wanted to know all about the surprise ahead of time.
Being freed of slavery was freedom –from the enslaving weight of sin. Bondage and oppression on earth could continue. A Prince of Peace would model and teach how to have inner peace through all circumstances. It didn’t come in political peace by overthrowing the government at the time.
Isaiah predicts that Jesus will be a Wonderful Counselor. More than that, Jesus was a great teacher, a man of compassion and miracles, a righteous judge, and the Son of God. Everlasting Father? Jesus leads the way to eternal life and Heaven.
And Jesus, given to us at a time and in a way God planned, was a surprise worth waiting for. He is the Christmas present offered to all people.
One doesn’t even need to stand on a chair to find him on the top shelf. Our Great Lord is easily contacted with prayer and his spirit is found in the hearts of those who accept him.
How much is Jesus in your Christmas today?
[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of articles, anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and website, buttontogod.dev. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]