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Surprise Gifts

It was certainly not my plan to spend the fifth day before Christmas in the recliner, but waking with the worst headache ever, my plans quickly changed. There would be no shopping, wrapping, baking, or cleaning. This was a monster headache and there I lay all day long. When not sleeping, longing to drown out the pain, I stared at the Christmas tree, the ornaments declaring Jesus, and the few packages underneath its drooping branches.

The gifts under the tree are all shapes, sizes, and colors. Some were quickly tucked into bags with tissue paper, while others were carefully wrapped in boxes with pretty bows. Wrapping for me needs to be quick but pretty. Every time I wrap a present, I remember a friend from long ago that gave careful attention to every package. Her gift-wrapping is a gift itself. Her package in the “White Elephant” game would definitely be chosen first, because it shouts, “Choose me, I am something special.” My small group always plays this game and year after year most gifts are chosen because of the container or the unique wrapping. “This one must be something good, because it is so pretty, cute or unique.”

Jesus, the greatest gift ever, did not come beautifully wrapped. He came to an animal stable and found his first bed to be a feeding trough. There was no glitz or glitter; no bows or ribbon; no tissue paper or tinsel. There was only wood, hay, swaddling cloths and barnyard smells.

Isaiah 52:2 says: “He had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrow, and acquainted with grief. And as one from whom men hide their faces, he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”

Nothing about His life shouted, “Choose me, I am something special.” Leave that package tucked underneath the drooping limbs and choose the pretty, attractive one. And that is exactly what many have done. Jesus has been pushed aside and left hidden beneath the tree. Rejected instead of embraced for all that He is. But wait; there is another prophetic verse in Isaiah that we must read.“ For unto us a child is born,unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder,and His name shall be called, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. “Is. 9:6

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