Christmas Agonies: Presents, Pain, and Prophecy.

I have this frightful problem of going into agonies of spirit when I buy someone a gift. Just the other day, I ordered something for Marnell.

“I wonder if I should just tell you what it is,” I said. “Because what if you don’t like it? But of course if you don’t like it, it won’t help to know ahead of time what it is. But maybe you will like it and you would enjoy looking forward to it if you knew it was coming?”

“I think it might be more fun to have you in hysterics the whole time,” he said.

Imagine!

The worst of it all is now that I’m boycotting Amazon as much as possible, I have a wait time about as long as the Amazon River. (Yes, there is an Amazon River. It was there first.)

“I think I’m only going to buy from Amazon for the rest of my life after this,” I told Marnell, as I sat on my chair contemplating the vast hours stretching from that particular evening until the arrival of his present.

Knowing I would never do that, he just chuckled. I’m in way more suspense and anguish than he is about this whole affair!

How Did God Feel About Sending Jesus to the World?

Actually, what I ordered for Marnell wasn’t specifically a Christmas gift. I ordered it on our recent anniversary. I also never got him a decent birthday gift, being laid up most of the fall. So it’s more like a birth-versary-mas gift, I guess.

But still, it got me thinking about Christmas. As I contemplated presents and Christmas, I had a startling thought.

Did God wish He could tell people about Jesus coming?

Wait. He must have, because he did give clues. Lots of them! For hundreds, even thousands of years before!

“In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:

‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,

are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;

for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.'”

Matthew 2

Or, this one –

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Isaiah 7:14 ESV

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggest God’s great Christmas plan resembles my petty agonies.

But I think it’s quite fascinating that God did not leave His people entirely clueless. In fact, his first clue, vague as it might be, came as soon as perfect peace left the world:

I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

Genesis 3:15 ESV

And I wonder, did God really get excited about this, and long to pour out the details of the Christmas story to the world? Did He restrain himself to only an occasional word, say once every 50 years on average? Did he increase the frequency of revelation on purpose in the case of certain prophets like Isaiah, for some mysterious reason?

I don’t know. But he did give clues! Which leads me to surmise that he wanted to keep people thinking about what exactly the coming present would be like.

Mulling over this in bed the other night, I turned brightly to Marnell.

“O Massachusetts in the land of New England, out of thee shall come the present,” I said.

Okay, so I’m not that great at prophesying… but at least he hasn’t figured it out, as far as I know.

As you keep secrets this Christmas, just imagine having to keep one for 4,000 years. No wonder we have such wonderful poetry in the prophecies about Jesus. No wonder people have come to believe in Jesus just by reading Isaiah 53! I love the Messianic prophecies.

The story of Jesus is a present too big for a box. A Christmas gift for so many people that no gift tag can hold the names. It didn’t come on Amazon’s time table and it didn’t come from Massachusetts, but in the fullness of time.

It is a story that almost could not wait to be told!

Photo by Kari Shea on Unsplash

Thank you for the great support during the Black Friday sale! If you missed it, shop the store. Note: please let me know if a package does not arrive! I’m a bit suspicious of the USPS right now. I was alarmed to hear that a shipment to Arizona got stuck in Colorado and took close to three weeks to arrive! Thankfully, the person who ordered was thinking ahead and had ordered in plenty of time.

9 thoughts on “Christmas Agonies: Presents, Pain, and Prophecy.”

  1. …and He still has beautiful eternal gifts in store that I think He must be excited to reveal! And He has given us clues, hints, gorgeous descriptions! Are we eagerly anticipating Jesus’ return?

    Thanks for sharing this fresh perspective on Christmas!

    (…and I also want to know what the birth-versary-mas gift is when it’s revealed ;))

  2. You REALLY should be careful how you title your posts just now! : ) I glanced at it and thought, “Oh, no! I wonder what’s happening now!” I read it again and relaxed a little! Have a VERY JOYOUS CHRISTMAS as you CELEBRATE JESUS!!
    P.S. In a recent phone conversation with my 8 yr-old grandson, he was trying to decide how many days it was until Christmas. He said he LOVES CHRISTMAS and couldn’t wait! I asked why he was so excited and he told me “Because it is Jesus’s birthday . . . and well, something else – I think you know what it is!” : )

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