2020 was not what we expected! Most of us can’t wait to close the door on this year and start fresh in 2021. We’ve had to pivot and change direction nonstop, cancel plans, rearrange our schedules, start homeschooling when we never once had that desire, stay away from people we love, and balance home/work/life in an entirely new way. And here’s the deal, we are human, so it’s hard when our expectations don’t get met. We get frustrated and mourn for what could have been. We tend to feel cheated. Yet as we celebrate Christmas this week, I can’t help but think about how the long-awaited Messiah was not what was expected all those years ago. The Jews were expecting the Messiah to come as a mighty warrior and dynamic leader who would help them break free from the oppression of Rome. They had suffered much and had prayed fervently for their deliverance. They dreamed of the day this mighty king would finally come to rescue them and set them free. But instead of coming in a dramatic burst of power and glory, the Son of God is born in a stable, surrounded by livestock of all things, and born to parents who were definitely not of the social standing worthy of royalty.
And rather than being a mighty warrior, He came as a Kind and Gentle King.
His throne wasn’t behind a castle wall, it was among the people. His crown wasn’t made of rubies and diamonds, it was made of thorns. He didn’t have servants and live in the opulence expected of a king, but He lived a very humble life and served others.
This was not even close to what they expected. When you think about it from this perspective, it’s easy to understand why it didn’t make sense to them. None of it. Kind of like none of this year seems to make sense to us. Yet look at what they missed because of being buried in their expectations. True freedom, not just from the Romans, but from their sins…forever! And our Messiah did this by doing the unthinkable, dying on a cross. The Jewish people missed out on the greatest gift ever given, eternal life, because they expected one thing and were given another. As we close out a year that has not been what we expected, I believe God is calling us to look past our expectations as well. In the midst of the weird, the painful, the hard, gifts have indeed been given. God has been at work in our lives, pushing us past our limits to new levels of faith, trust and surrender. My heartfelt prayer is that as you celebrate Christmas, you would see God’s grace and favor in your life in a whole new way. I pray your spiritual eyes would be opened to see Him in unexpected ways. I pray the joy and love of this season would permeate your spirit in a deeper way than ever before as we celebrate Emmanuel, GOD WITH US! God is right here with us, in the ordinary, in the hard, and in the unexpected! May your heart be filled with peace as you celebrate the birth of our Kind and Gentle King! Love and hugs, Jill p.s. I wrote a song called “Kind and Gentle King,” and it’s on my “Christmas is Here” CD, which you can order in our Choose store.