by Andrew Consiglio, leader and director of Youth Fellowship
Some of us like gifts which are surprises and others not so much. I’m sure we all have the experience of gifts we don’t like or have no use for – and maybe even go on to the extent of recycling them.
But then we also have the experience of gifts which really touch us and even transform us: and guess what? these are not usually material things but people.
Have you ever told somebody: “What a gift you are in my life?”
God’s indescribable gift is exactly that: the ‘Gift’ and the ‘Giver’ are one and the same!
The Christmas story had plenty of things which may surprise us:
- Jesus wasn’t born on the 25th December – that was a pagan feast which celebrated the re-birth of the sun, the winter solstice, the shortest day – after which the days being to slowly get longer and the nights shorter
- Jesus was not born at just before midnight in 0 BC but actually in 4BC.
- Where did angel who announced Jesus’ birth go? In Athens, the centre of philosophy? in Babylon, the cradle of civilisation? in Rome, the centre of political power? in Jerusalem, the centre of religious worship? No, in Nazareth, not even mentioned in the Old Testament.
- In Bethlehem, house of bread, the first witnesses are shepherds.
But the greatest surprise is this. The people of God in the Old Testament cried out:
Return for the sake of your servants, the tribes that are your inheritance….Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, (Isaiah 63:16,17 64:1).
Who would have ever told them that God would literally do just that? God’s indescribable gift is exactly that: the ‘Gift’ and the ‘Giver’ are one and the same! Emmanuel is with us!
There is no way to have a real relationship without becoming vulnerable. Christmas shows us the God who shows us His vulnerability, that we can bless God or “hurt Him”.
As we let go of ungodly earthy desires and attachments we make room for more of the greatest gift we can ever hope for the gift of God’s Presence in our lives. Spend quality time in prayer and ask God to draw you and to surprise you