Thrive 365 December: The Greatest Gift

By: Garret Larsen

Posted: 12.10.19

The Christmas season brings with it expectations. Whether spoken or not, we all have things we expect at Christmas. For some, these expectations may be centered around the fulfillment of long standing family traditions. For some, these expectations are around gifts and gift giving…we expect the perfect Christmas gift, sometimes whether we have asked for it or not. 

Sometimes, the Christmas season is a painful reminder of unmet expectations. The goal we set didn’t happen, or the loved one isn’t at the table this year, or the drama-free family gathering isn’t coming to fruition yet again.

All too often, we have a lofty, emotional build up to Christmas, but then at the end of the day we find ourselves surrounded by scraps of wrapping paper and expectations that weren’t met.

Today we are going to look at the gift of Jesus, and how unexpected this gift was.

Jesus came to earth in an unexpected way. Religious leaders of the time expected a ruler, a political leader, someone with clout and influence who could step on the scene and make an immediate impact. But a baby? Who can’t talk, walk, or much less lead anyone? Definitely not what anyone was looking for in a Messiah. 

Jesus came through unexpected people. Mary probably wasn’t the top of the class, the best looking, the best athlete, and in today’s terms, she probably wouldn’t have had a big social media platform. She was young and not even married yet, but God chose her. Not because of something she did, but because he wanted to show that he can work through the most unexpected, ordinary people. 

We had no reason to expect Jesus’ sacrifice.  At Christmas, we give gifts to those we care about, who have been nice to us over the past year, or who have given us a gift first. Yet, God gave us the gift of his son when we were His enemies. He didn’t give this gift to us because we deserved it. In fact, it was just the opposite. The Bible tells us, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 NKJV).

My charge to you as parents this Christmas is to take time to reflect on how unexpected Jesus’ arrival to earth was and how we can find hope in the unexpected this Christmas season.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What is an expectation you have for Christmas this year?
  2. When was a time you expected something and it didn’t happen?
  3. What was unique about Jesus coming to earth?
  4. Who is someone in your life you can show unexpected love to this Christmas?

Prayer: Lord we thank you for the gift of your son. May our hearts and minds be focused on you during this season and be expectant of your presence in our lives. In your precious name, Amen.