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Don't fear the Lord's surprises
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There are only seven more shopping days left. What do you mean you haven’t started yet? Are you going to wait until the last minute?
I will never forget a conversation I had with my mom many years ago. She’s been gone for more than six years now, so I am hesitant to say anything negative about her. But she was a very funny lady. She did some things that were fascinating to us.
She was the most organized person I have ever met. Her big freezer was actually loaded in alphabetic order. From left to right you could find beef, chicken, pork and then vegetables — each in their proper order.
And so it should not have surprised me to hear her proudly declare over the phone, “Well, I finished my Christmas shopping today.” After all, she always finished her Christmas shopping before I did.
But here was the problem. I had called her to tell her about one of my son’s baseball games. It was July, and she had finished her Christmas shopping. I’m sorry, but there is something inherently wrong about that, even if it was my own mother.
I have to admit that I am not as organized as Mom. I’m not terrible. My library is in very good order. I can find almost any book I want in only a minute or two. But I will never reach the level she did.
Still, I like to have order and organization. I like for the worship services at our church to start on time — they almost always do. I like for things to be done in an orderly fashion.
I don’t really like surprises all that much. That’s why I like to buy my own gifts, but that’s another story.
Yet sometimes God steps in and surprises us. Think about the surprises that are found over and over in the first two chapters of Luke.
God announced to Zecheriah, the priest, that he would have a son, John the Baptist. He announced to Mary that she would have a son and to the angels when that son was born.
All of these announcements were made through an angel. And every time the angel spoke, he said to his listeners, “Do not fear.” And every time he was too late because they already were afraid.
God’s greatest news, the birth of his Son, was a surprise to almost everyone. They weren’t ready. But he came anyway.
During this Christmas time, we need to be reminded that this same Son is going to come again. The angels will not give advance notice this time. Don’t be surprised. And don’t be afraid.
The good news of Christmas merely foreshadows the good news of the second coming. I’m glad Jesus came the first time. I look forward to his coming the second time.

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