FIVE CHRISTMAS SURPRISES YOU MAY BE TAKING FOR GRANTED


I’m 47 and no one has ever thrown a surprise party for me. Ever.


I’m really glad because I don’t want one.


I’d be miserable. All those people showing up just for me. The center of attention. Smoked brisket, mashers, apple pie, Trader Joe’s vanilla ice cream and root beer. Or maybe catered by In-N-Out. It would be really bad if people brought gifts. Thank God that’s never happened to me.


If my wife is reading this… I’m counting on you: please don’t throw me a surprise party. Especially not for my next birthday or Fathers Day. I’m guessing my mom wouldn’t help you with it so don’t call her. And don’t look in my sock drawer because I haven’t written an invitation list and put it in there.


I hate surprises.

God of Surprises


Despite the fact I “hate” surprises, we’ve got a God who loves them.


Surprises are littered in the stories surrounding Jesus's birth.


Mary wasn’t the only parent treated to an “angel birth announcement.” An angel visited Zachariah revealing his wife Elizabeth, in her old age, would give birth to the forerunner to the Messiah. Zachariah was struck without the ability to speak because he didn’t believe the angel.


When the time came to name the baby, the speechless Zachariah wrote the baby's name:


Asking for a tablet, Zachariah wrote, “His name is to be John.” That took everyone by surprise. Surprise followed surprise—Zachariah’s mouth was now open, his tongue loose, and he was talking, praising God! - Luke 1:63-64


I love the phrase: surprise followed surprise…


God tends to pile surprises on top of each other. That is my experience with Jesus – surprise follows surprise. Zachariah could never quite predict God's next move, and neither can we. There is always a new mystery waiting.


Here are 5 Surprises You Might Be Taking For Granted:


Surprise #1: God left heaven and came to earth.

An all-supreme being created a world and, rather than observing it from a distance, entered it. Imagine an author having the power and, more importantly, the desire, to create a real, not fictional, story and then literally becoming a presence in the story. (John 1)

This will blow your mind if you let it.


But Surprise follows surprise…


Surprise #2: God isn’t a narcissist

Born in a manger, not Rome? Child of a teenage peasant girl, not a queen? Grew up swinging a hammer, not a sword? Came to serve us, not the other way around? The ancient world viewed deities as self-absorbed, power hungry beings that manipulated humans for pleasure.

We won the lottery with Jesus.


But Surprise follows Surprise…


Surprise #3: God doesn’t force you to love Him

Before Original Sin, there was Original Choice. Love absent of choice is an oxymoron. If you disagree, try an arranged marriage and let us know how it goes. God doesn’t want an arranged marriage with you. He wants you to choose Him and gave you that ability. Surprisingly.


But Surprise follows Surprise…


Surprise #4: God is relational

If you’ve been a Christian long enough, you are probably taking this for granted. Almost every faith system on the globe views God from an ethical transaction perspective. God makes ethical rules and we strive to live up to it. Jesus blows apart the system of “religion” because love, not rules, headline his agenda. I love this Tim Keller quote:

But Surprise follows Surprise…


Surprise #5: God’s plan to introduce Jesus to the world? Us.

This is the strangest, most perplexing thing about God. From a strategic standpoint, using flawed human beings as the primary method to introduce Jesus to the world seems like a mistake (can I say that?). It’s likely Surprise #5 and #3 are linked in a way we won’t grasp this side of heaven. So you and I are God’s plan to spread the news. Thanks God, for trusting us. Let’s do it with grace, gentleness and respect.


Are there any of these surprises you may have taken for granted?


Stop, pray, and give THANKS today for surprises. And the surprise following each surprise.


And while you’re praying, ask God to help my wife Karin to get the hint.


Thanks for reading this! As always, I appreciate you passing this along to someone else or sharing on social media. I'd also love to hear from you via likes, comments or emails at jim@jimcandy.net.

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