After having bought and then wrapped an abundance of gifts, everything was finally ready. The grandchildren’s Amazon lists had been finalized, and the many packages had arrived. Sometimes one by one, but more often, a collection of boxes came all at once. Having seven grandchildren accounted for many of the packages. It had taken weeks of planning and preparation to get to this point. We were delighted to have the whole family together for an entire day. The Christmas tree twinkled, and the smell of breakfast filled the house. The anticipated cinnamon rolls were in the oven, and the coffee was ready. Oh, the house smelled and looked wonderfully delightful! Christmas was unquestionably in the air.
As everyone gathered near the tree, the excitement in the room was unmistakable. My hubby opened the Bible and read the well-known and well-loved story of Jesus’ birth from the book of Luke. A tradition everyone had come to expect. And just like that, when he read the final word, the room went from being attentive and quiet to anarchy and chaos. The grandkids helped to pass out the gifts, and the promise of what was in the packages exploded in activity. The gift opening moment had finally arrived.
As each child opened their gifts, thank you and hugs were liberally passed around. And then we heard the first grandchild exclaim, “this is what I ordered!” And from that moment on, those five words were said by little voices as the gifts were unwrapped with record speed. “Yup, this is what I ordered!” “Thank you, Oma and Papa, this is exactly what I ordered!”
The grandchildren were so used to seeing their parents place orders online and have the order somehow appear at the door that they confused “ordering” with their wish list requests. All they knew was that they asked for a particular toy, which they got. They mistook their request for a done deal.
But now and then, a delightful squeal followed the gift unwrapping. We had taken a risk getting something we thought looked fun: something that hadn’t been “ordered.” A gift was received and appreciated, even though it was not on the official wish list. Occasionally, our gift was better than any gift the grandkids envisioned. Sheer joy was the reaction of such an unimagined surprise.
The Jewish people knew what the Messiah they were expecting would look like. They had expected a Savior, a Messiah who was a mighty King. They expected a royal and powerful King who would finally take Rome down. No way would their Messiah be meek and humble.
But God had a much better plan involving the birth of the Messiah, Jesus, a light in which we can find joy, love, and hope. This Jesus was not what they ordered! But he was so much better than they could have wanted. With him came the gift of salvation thru grace. The people of Israel had for centuries dwelt in darkness, and finally, the promised yet different than expected Messiah had come.
In Isaiah 9:2, we read, The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in the land of deep darkness, a light will shine.
Jesus, the light was that light- he came so many Christmases ago. He wasn’t what the world expected, but he was the Messiah God sent- the brightly shining light of the world.