Unexpected Packages

by Amber Ginter, Senior, English Major

You know, with the Christmas season coming about, families cutting down trees, and Hallmark producing the most romantic, sappy, love affairs they can think of, it is no surprise that the month of December is full of emotions. For some of us, these emotions are pure joy and bliss. They embody my dog Buddy with his huge eyes and eager smile to see what’s next in store. With a wagging tail, glorious bark, and friendly charisma, no one could be more excited for Christmas. However, for others, the holidays bring about some different emotions.

They stir up the pain of loneliness, longing, and nostalgia for the things once had or not yet achieved. And that got me thinking a lot about Jesus’ birth, and how the people expecting him were quite disappointed when a small baby in a manger was born, rather than a powerful King commanding cities and tearing down those in its way. At that moment, I’m sure the people felt a slew of emotions similar to that of our own. They were happy, for a baby was being born, but they were also suddenly stirred and confused, frightened and upset, angry, and misunderstanding. How could this which they were waiting to arrive finally be here, but meet none of their hopeful expectations? Let alone that, how in the world would this small baby go on to save the world and why?

Baffling our minds and hearts, perhaps we too if alive at the time of His birth would have questioned the same intentions, doubted His presence, and been blinded by the gift wrapped in a different packaging than we wanted. And you know what that’s taught me? That sometimes, the things we long for most arrive in the moments and ways that we least expect it. They show up in the broken hearts, the loss of jobs, the pains of arguments, and the misfortunes of our faulty human lives. And because we expect different, because we long for something more, we get disappointed and often miss out on some of the most beautiful blessings He has in store.

Yet, don’t we already know that God knows what we need when we need it, more than what we want when we want it? I wrote about it in a blog once, but if we trust that God will provide, doesn’t that mean believing all the details and plans that follow that?

Learn to see the grace and mercy behind the unexpected gifts you receive this year: The beauty behind the heartbreaks, the lessons behind the waiting, the treasures below the longings, and the love within the package wrapped as a baby boy entitled to save the world. It won’t always look like what you want it to, in fact, it might seem the opposite, but don’t take it for granted. The people of Jesus’ time didn’t honor the treasure they were given until it was too late. They failed to see the beauty of a smelly stable, shredded cloths, and a quiet baby lying in the manger; this season, don’t make the same mistake. The best is yet to come in those unexpected packages.

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