Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. – Luke 1:26-27
God loves to surprise people: giving Abraham a baby at one hundred, appearing to Moses in a burning bush, telling Hosea to marry a harlot, a free lunch for 5,000. God loves doing things we don’t expect!
For more than 2,000 years God’s people had been promised a Messiah. They knew He would be born of a woman, a descendant of Abraham, from the Tribe of Judah, born of a virgin, even born in Bethlehem. But it had been 400 years since any prophet or prophecy had come from God and still no Messiah.
Most people had given up hope. Those who hadn’t were expecting a military leader, not a baby. They were expecting a palace and thrones, not a stable and hay. But the truth is most people were not expecting anything. Most of the world had moved on; busy with the hustle and bustle of everyday life, of schedules and deadlines, of meetings and meals. No one was looking for the Messiah to be born in a barn to peasant teenagers. God’s voice had grown silent. His miracles had ceased. No one was expecting anything, but all that changed when Gabriel was sent to Mary.
That’s one of the things I like about Christmas. I am reminded that when it seems like God has stopped moving on our behalf or its been a while since we’ve heard His voice even then God is working behind the scenes to surprise us with something unexpected! Sometimes when things on the surface appear lifeless and void, an angel shows up and all of the sudden life is pregnant with potential and hope! The “angel” might be a call from an old friend, a new job or a good book. Your angel might come in the form of a sunset, a verse of scripture, a child’s hug or a conversation over coffee. But when it comes, everything changes. And the God Who once seemed distant and detached is now close and intimate. Where there was once no hope now there is suddenly expectation!
Who, or what, was the last angel that visited you? How long has it been since you’ve truly expected God to show up?
Mary and Joseph might have been the only ones “expecting” something amazing to happen that first Christmas night in Bethlehem, but not even they could’ve guessed all God had up His sleeve.
Angels would sing for shepherds.
The Creator would be created.
The Father became a Son.
God became a baby.
The Infinite became an infant.
The King of Kings became a peasant.
The Throne of Heaven traded for a manger.
The All-knowing became unknown.
The All-powerful became powerless.
And God was nursed by a teenage girl.
Prayer: God help me to keep my eyes open for Your messengers of hope this Christmas season and birth in me a greater expectation of Your presence and purpose in my life. In Jesus name Amen.
Johns Creek Baptist Church