Seven Unexpected Gifts of Christmas
Usually at Christmas time, many parents give several small gifts and then one big gift to their children. Did you know that so did our Heavenly Father? How many of you have read the Christmas story in the bible and become aware of the seven smaller, yet significant, gifts from God given to all of us along with the one GIANT gift of the birth of Jesus? Not only did we receive several gifts, but who God chose to present those gifts to us was amazing. You may even relate or connect with one of them. Let’s take a deeper look into the Word.
Zaccaharias’ gift to deliver: Here’s an old guy (relax—He calls himself old in scripture! For real...check it out--Luke 1:18), but a smart guy (I’ll tell you way later) who is visited by an angel. Yeah, you read it correctly, visited by an angel, not the spirit of Christmas past. The Angel Gabriel came down and told him he would be the father of a man who would turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. WOW!! Wow!! Wow. Zaccaharias’ journey goes on, and you can read it any time you want; I’m going to give you a spoiler alert here though –GOD gives Zaccaharias the gift of the forerunner for proclamation of SALVATION, his son John. This would be available and given to many, including us! If you are familiar you have already guessed his son is not just John, but John the Baptist. (Luke 1:1-25).
Mary’s gift to deliver: Pun intended!! Here is a very young girl, still a virgin, and engaged to be married. An angel brings her a message from God that she is pregnant. Nope, not a scene from Teen Moms! The angel said is pregnant with a son who will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest, and his kingdom will have no end. Mary, as you can expect, was troubled by what the angel had said to her. The angel comforted her by telling her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found FAVOR with God. Because Mary was obedient to God, she was the vessel (or to use a modern day reference, she was Amazon) for our gift of favor from God. (Luke 1:26-38)
Remember earlier I told you I would tell you why Zaccaharias was not just old guy, but also smart guy? Here we go! So Zaccaharias was married to Elizabeth. As Zaccaharias so eloquently put it, a woman well-advanced in years. WAY TO GO Zaccaharias!! He knew better than to call his wife old like himself. LOL!!! Now seriously, so if you also remember from reading Luke, Elizabeth is the mother of John the Baptist. During a visit from Mary to Elizabeth, Elizabeth says to her, “Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord”. So, through Elizabeth’s faith in the Lord, she was able to be a blessing from the Lord through the birth of John the Baptist. Through her faith, which means: You too by faith can not only be blessed, but also be a blessing to others. (Luke 1:39-45)
Next up is Joseph. Here is a guy, happy to find a wife to call his own and start building the his dream life. I am sure you may have already put together that he was not exactly thrilled that his soon to be wife was already pregnant. This was not a great thing back in the time frame that this was happening. He too was worried, scared, and disappointed. (Anybody every felt those emotions?) The spirit of Christmas future did not come visit him, but an angel of the Lord did!! (Matthew 1:1-25) The book of Matthew goes on to give you the story of Joseph’s obedience to God and his example of letting God guide him. God was Joseph’s GPS (Guidance Protection Services), and because Joseph’s faith allowed him to follow the spoken word of God; all who believe also now have the immeasurable gift of guidance from God. (Matthew 2:13, 2:19-23)
The Shepherds: You can probably most understand who the shepherds were if I keep it simple. These guys were blue collar workers--simple men of simple means, working their jobs and supporting their family day to day. If you are following me then you have already guessed – An angel appeared to the shepherds also. The angel told them of the birth of a babe who would a Savior for all who believed. After this visit the shepherds decided to take a road trip!! They traveled to Bethlehem where they saw all the angel had told them come to pass. They were filled with joy at what they had seen and known to be true. They returned to their home glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, just as the angel had told them. The shepherds went back to their hometown and shared the gift of joy they had received through God’s big gift. We, as believers, can also walk around telling our family and friends about this joy because of what the shepherds believed and shared. (Luke 2:8-10)
I now get to introduce a Christmas gift giver that I can identify with; give a warm welcome to Anna, the prophetess. You wanna know why I dig Anna? Best educated guess is that Anna was about 105 years old when God spoke to her and told her of the coming of Jesus. This means there is hope for me at 51 that you are never too old to be used by God!! After the birth of Jesus, when Mary and Joseph brought him to the temple to be dedicated to the Lord, Anna saw what she had been waiting for. “And in coming in that instance she gave thanks to the Lord and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem." Through her vision of the coming of Jesus, all who look to the Big gift (Jesus) seeking redemption can receive it. (Luke 2:36-38)
Finally, bringing up the rear is Simeon. Simeon was a man who was devoted to his faith in Christ. He came by the Spirit (Holy Spirit) into the temple. And when the parents brought in the child Jesus, following custom, he took baby Jesus in his arms and blessed God and said: “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, According to Your word." We as faithful believers were brought peace through the acceptance of the salvation Jesus had for us by way of Simeon. (Luke 2:25-29, 2:33)
If we are basing a gift exchange on the truth of the real Christmas story, we were all brought gifts from God by Zaccharias, Mary, Elizabeth, Joseph, Shepherds, Anna, and Simeon to be opened once you accepted the bigger gift God himself delivered through the birth of his son, Jesus.
Have you ever wanted to receive or wondered about salvation?
Would you like to know more about the favor of the Lord?
Are you wanting to be blessed by faith so you can be a blessing?
Could you use precise guidance in your life?
Want to know the joy that comes from knowing Jesus?
Are you in need of redemption from your past or present hurts, hang-ups or habits?
You can have it all!! Best of all you can have it all wrapped in the peace of the Lord!!
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid." John 14:27