|Are you currently enjoying the excitement and anticipation that goes into the days before Christmas? If your family is like mine, boxes get wrapped and then wrapped again, and gift-givers spend plenty of energy disguising the present within the package.
My family takes pride in wrapping gifts in boxes that can’t be identified. We’ve put gifts in old vacuum cleaner boxes, old shoeboxes, old Bible boxes (missionary family—so there were lots of those around), and we typically use instant ramen noodles to fill our packages so that you can’t tell what the gift is when you shake the box.
In a sense, you could say that God masterfully disguised a few gifts to us that first Christmas: a humble family, a less-than-ideal birthplace, a powerless infant…. That was not the gift that God’s people had been pleading for. They were looking for someone of power, and they were looking for someone of prestige. What were they supposed to do with the birth of a baby?
But what a gift we received!
More than might, more than wealth, more than prestige, we received the promise of with-ness. In Jesus, we received the promise that God desires to be present in our struggles, present in our pain, and present in our brokenness.
I suppose I could be most grateful for the fact that International Ministries is ahead of budget for funds raised by this time of the year. (And I am grateful for this. Thank you for your incredibly generous and sacrificial giving!) Or I could be most grateful for the fact that I get to spend time with my crazy present-disguising family. But I hope you will join me in being most grateful for the gift God gave us that first Christmas. God’s gift was the promise of eternal and real peace, hope and joy—yes, in the birth of a baby, the baby Jesus.
This Christmas at International Ministries, our prayer is that you will receive the gift you are hoping for, the gift that will bring you joy, hope, and peace.
… and they will call him ‘Immanuel’—which means, ‘God with us.’” (Matthew 1:23)