The Israelites had been waiting for centuries for the Messiah to come. They were expecting a Mighty King to come and rule the government even though Isaiah 9:6 says, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Christ did come as baby born in a stable. The angels came to announce His birth but to the lowliest of the community, the shepherds. The star shone bright in the sky but only the wise-men noticed its appearance. The Messiah didn’t come as everyone expected.
Have you ever had a day or week not go as expected? I have had one of those weeks this week. Just this morning I was schedule to go play my flute at Brick Christian Church. The songs were picked out and I had been practicing for weeks. Then mid-week one of my migraines started. They usually last 2-3 days so it should have been gone by Sunday morning. The alarm went off this morning and it was still there. I struggled to get myself together to leave. I finally got in the car and was off. Then Jeremy calls me that I had left my flute at home. How could I have left without my flute to play? I had to turn around and go back for it. Running even later now I prayed as I drove, “God I can’t do this without You. Please accept my offering to You this morning.” I arrived to the church in time to set up. There was no sound check and the service began. We will just say, the music didn’t go as expected from starting on the wrong song, to the CD music fading in and out, to get getting lost in the music. As I played I said my prayer in my heart again, “God I can’t do this without You. Please accept my offering of music this morning.” In the past, I would have stopped in tears because I had messed up. This morning the music continued with a joyful noise until it ended with Away in a Manger “Bless all the dear children in thy tender care, And take us to heaven, to live with Thee there.” Thank Lord Jesus.
The pastor stood to give the message. He began by reminding everyone that God wants to teach us something through each moment even when things don’t go as planned or expected. Technology will fail us but He is still there. Okay Lord, what do you want me to learn this morning. I turned to Just As I Am in the hymnal and read the verses. The last verse is “Just as I am, Thou wilt receive, Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve; Because Thy promise I believe, O Lamb of God, I come, I come!” I had come as I was today and my offering was received. I was able to sit with peace in my heart that all was okay.
One of the illustrations in the message was about a survey which said 37% people give gifts to people they don’t like and on average they spend $112 on those gifts. Those gifts are really worth nothing because of the heart of the giver.
Where is your heart this Christmas? Is it on Christ? What gift are you going to give to Him this Christmas?
As Jeremy and I prepare to go on the mission field, today I was reminded there are going to be days that don’t go as expected but as long as I give of myself to Him with the right heart, He will accept my gift and bless His dear children in His tender care. God is not surprised when things don’t go as we expect them. He just wants us to depend on Him. To give yourself just as you are and He will do the rest.
The Messiah came just as God had expected.