I heard a noise. The house was dark, my parents and older brother asleep in their beds. It was only two days until Christmas and I thought of all the wrapped gifts under the tree in our living room. Was someone breaking in to steal them? I heard the creak of the front door and whispering voices. I crept down the stairs to the landing. If it were an unwelcome intruder I’d run back up and wake my dad. I heard more whispering. I took another few steps and heard a little boy’s voice. “Where are we going to sleep, Mom?” he asked. I took the next few steps in a leap and flew into my sister’s arms. She and her husband and sons didn’t tell anyone they were coming. The whole house was soon in an uproar as my brother and parents arrived on the scene. There were lots of hugs and tears and joyful sounds.
Unexpected visitors do cause a stir. Can you imagine what it must have been like when the angel Gabriel arrived to give Mary the startling bit of news that she was going to have a baby boy? Or when the angel appeared to Joseph in the middle of the night and told him to go ahead with his wedding plans? And what about the arrival of the kings from the east, bearing expensive gifts, and then another angel telling the tiny family to run for their lives to avoid King Herod’s massacre? And what about Jesus?
His arrival was, perhaps, the most unexpected of all. The people had been expecting their Messiah. They’d been expecting Him for hundreds of years. But they didn’t expect a child, born in the country, attended by shepherds and a few animals. They didn’t expect a man who appeared to be, for the first thirty years, like any other. They expected, they wanted, a conqueror. What they got was a baby who grew up as a carpenter’s son.
They didn’t expect him to challenge their own religious authorities. They wanted him to muster an army to defeat the Romans. They didn’t expect him to act like a servant, washing the feet of his followers. They wanted a charismatic leader who would rally the people. They didn’t expect him to die on a cross. They wanted him to reign like a king.
What are our expectations of Jesus? Do we expect him to make us prosperous and healthy? Do we expect him to give us everything we want? Do we expect him to keep us comfortable and happy? What do we want from Him?
The answer to that question should be nothing. We should expect nothing because that’s what we deserve. What we get is everything. We get everlasting life surrounded by the indescribable glory of God. That unexpected baby born over 2000 years ago was a king, but not just the king of Israel, not just the king of the Jews. He is the King of the universe.
Soon we’ll celebrate His birth. Maybe we should ponder what it is we are expecting.
Marcia Lee Laycock writes from central Alberta Canada where she is a pastor’s wife and mother of three adult daughters. She was the winner of The Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for her novel, One Smooth Stone and also has two devotional books in print. Her work has been endorsed by Sigmund Brouwer, Janette Oke, Phil Callaway and Mark Buchanan. The sequel to One Smooth Stone will be released in March, 2012. A collection of devotionals for writers has just been released here. Visit Marcia’s website