God is full of surprises! Take a look at the week's second advent reading below. View previous devotionals and entire advent guide here.
Baby announcements and reveals have become a huge thing over the last several years. They have been posted, liked, retweeted, copied, pinned, snapped, and every other way to share and re-share these stories. All of it is to reveal a surprise. Will the new baby be a boy or a girl? Surprises like this are fun.
God loves surprises, too. Not that he ever acts outside of his character, but that he does things we often do not expect. The story of Jesus’ birth is full of surprises. For one, the new baby would be born to a virgin. What a surprise that was. Also, this king of the universe, God in flesh, Messiah Son of God would be born in a place reserved for keeping animals. Anybody else writing this story would have a king born in a palace or to wealthy family in good standing. But, God is not just anybody. Surprise! The Messiah, who is God in the flesh, will be born in a stable with animals. And, if that is not surprising enough, he will have no place to make his bed so he will be placed in the manger, a place where animals eat.
Another surprise comes when he lets the world know about this Savior. He does not tell the rich and wealthy in Bethlehem. He does not even proclaim it in Jerusalem, the home of the temple. God decides to announce the birth of his son to lowly shepherds. The shepherds were thought of as outcasts. They did not really belong anywhere. They were low in the eyes of society. Surprise! These lowlife outcasts were the first ones to visit Christ the Lord.
All of Jesus’ life was a surprise to many. It was a surprise that he lived in Nazareth (Could anything good come from Nazareth? John 1:46). It was a surprise that he would pick fishermen, a tax collector, a zealot, and others like them to be his disciples. It was surprising to hear him teach (he taught with great authority, not as the scribes Matthew 7:29). It was surprising that he would speak and the winds and waves would obey him. He would tell demons to go, and they would. He would touch someone, and they would be healed. He made the blind see and the lame walk.
He amassed a great following and people began to think of him as the Messiah, the Savior. And then, surprisingly, he died. He laid down his life as a ransom for many. He gave his life in our place. He took the punishment for sin that was meant for us. Then, just as surprisingly, he rose from the dead to give us life in him.
God is still a God full of surprises. He has his own way of doing things. There are certain times when I think that God should do something this way or that way. And, then he moves me out of the way and does it his way (the right way of course)! I have to stand back and be amazed at how he continues to work things out in a surprising way.
It is always surprising to see who God uses and how he uses them to accomplish his purposes. Let’s continue being in awe of our God as we wait for him to return.
How have you seen God work in your life this week in ways that you did not expect?
Thank him for all of those times and people.
Thank you God for using those who are least likely and who seem unworthy. Thank you for using people like us to tell your great story to others. Give us opportunities to share the good news of Jesus with others.