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Unexpected Gifts


Posted by Martha Wilson, December 5, 2023

Have you ever awakened in the overflow of the previous day's events? That is where I

find myself this morning. Yesterday was filled with six hours of preparation and podcast

recording. It was unlike any podcast days we had experienced before because my co-

host Kim Stanley and I were joined by four other “hope seekers.” We were all excited

about the assignment we had been given, but as we circled the table, I caught a

glimpse of the gifts awaiting us.

The table was filled with cups of hot coffee, books, notes, chocolate petit fours, and

home-baked Christmas cookies. Joy and excitement spilled over the edge of the table.

Gift upon gift was stacked high. The gift of friendship was very obvious. Graciously

included was the gift of being seen, heard, and valued. The gift of encouragement was

abundant. The gift of sharing deep heart thoughts of what we had learned through this

book. The gift of grace and love. The gift of laughter and tears.

But, there was an unexpected gift awaiting us.

One year ago, to date, we had been a part of an early morning Zoom Advent group. We

met around Ann Voskamp’s book, “The Greatest Gift.” That journey had so marked our

lives that we wanted to attempt to share it with many more this year. As you read today,

I hope that you will take time to find the podcast and join in the five episodes of six Hope

Seekers discussing this precious Advent journey. (Click here to listen.)

The Latin word “Advent“ means “coming.” It begins in the Old Testament when the

prophecy of the Messiah's first coming was spoken. All awaited the fulfillment of this

promise.  Every Christmas, we celebrate that God wrapped Himself in the flesh and

came as a baby in a manager. This baby Jesus grew to be a man who made His way to

the cross to give us everlasting life. Now, we await His glorious second coming.

Much of the world celebrates Christmas but completely misses the gift of Jesus, The

Greatest Gift.  Ann’s book helps us to slowly unwrap this most wonderful “love story of



As the six of us leaned into the microphone, our hearts raced with words that brought

life to us and that we hoped would bring life to you also. The record button was pressed,

and we had no idea that God would come so near. He sat with us and breathed life into

us as we journeyed through 25 days of advent in one sitting. Our hearts raced with

hope. Faith increased, and peace settled within.  Right there, on December 1, 2023,

Christmas came to all of our hearts.

Emmanuel, God With Us, came very near.  It was unexpected, but so much was

received. It wasn’t about presents or decorations, goodies prepared, or families

gathered. It was about Jesus and His great love coming to save us.  His presence was

so obvious that we felt as if we could touch Him. And we did with our hearts, words,

laughter, and tears.

“The Present is His presence, and the greatest present you always have to give is His presence.” (Ann Voscamp)

Let’s be careful not to miss the unexpected gifts this Christmas. Don’t get snagged in

the hurry that you miss His glorious presence. He waits to come near to your heart. To

sit at your table and speak life, hope, joy, and peace into your world.  You may find Him

in a song. A smile or a hug. The sharing of a special treat. A card. A word. A podcast, or

a devotion.

He has come! He is here! Waiting to be seen and experienced.

“So now we pause. Still. Ponder. Hush. Wait.

Each day of Advent, He gives you the gift of time,

 so you have time to be still and wait.” Ann Voskamp

“The Giver becomes the Gift.” Ann Voskamp 


Free Resources from Ann Voskamp

Martha Wilson is a writer, speaker, blogger and co-host of “A Burst of Hope” weekly podcast. She is the founder and director of Touching Hearts Ministries for women. She has led women to pursue an intimate relationship with Jesus for most of her adult life. She is bold, tender, and transparent as she teaches women to embrace powerful Biblical truths. Martha and her husband, Ed, live in Fayetteville, Georgia, and enjoy their blended family of five children, eight grandchildren, and one great-granddaughter. You can connect with Martha at: Facebook and Instagram @TouchingHeartsMinistries or listen to the A Burst of Hope Podcast.


Abby Knight
Abby Knight

What a beautiful word for this advent season! I’m so thankful to receive these emails and be reminded of Jesus unwavering love and pursuit of my heart. Celebrating Advent with you!

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