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Summary: Have you ever gotten something for Christmas that was totally unexpected? It could’ve been a special gift or a visit from someone. There were some things that happened on that first Christmas that were quite unexpected.

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NOT WHAT YOU EXPECTED

Have you ever gotten something for Christmas that was totally unexpected? It could’ve been a special gift or a visit from someone. On the flip side have you ever expected a certain gift or visit from someone and ended up being disappointed? I was looking at this online forum titled, “Did anyone get something for Christmas they didn’t expect.” The best one was someone got a ticket to Hawaii. Then on the other end of the spectrum someone received a toothbrush, toothpaste and some breath mints for Christmas-and I don’t think they weren’t expecting that. This person probably needed these items but he wasn’t too pleased to get them. There were some things that happened on that first Christmas that were quite unexpected.

1) The pregnancy was unexpected. Matt. 1:18-25.

First of all, in the pregnancy itself we see God doing something that would be unexpected. Yes, it was foretold in the book of Isaiah but this idea of God becoming a human-God lowering himself; emptying himself to become like one of us sounds so undignified; it goes against his deity. The Creator and sustainer of the universe was willing to become a little, helpless baby? The holy and omniscient one was willing to take on flesh and blood and become subject to human frailties? It sounds absurd that God would be willing to make such a drastic transformation and lower himself to that level. It seems unbelievable that God would humble himself to such a degree. It seems preposterous that God would make such an extreme sacrifice. From what I understand that’s one of the biggest things that trips muslims up-the idea that God would become human is unfathomable to them.

But, God does things that are unexpected. Not only is this true in that God was willing to become one of us, it’s also true in the way it was brought about. Mary becoming pregnant by the Holy Spirit would be hard to accept; it sounds immoral. Sure, if you look at it the wrong way. This pregnancy didn’t happen the conventional way. God didn’t have sex with Mary. That’s why it highlights that the virgin will be with child and will give birth.

But we see that this unconventional pregnancy caused some commotion. Joseph was no doubt a hot mess over the whole thing. He’s dealing with the fact that his fiancĂ© is pregnant and it’s not his. His heart is being torn out because of the supposed betrayal and humiliation. His love for her prevails and he decides not to expose her to public disgrace; he chose not to reveal that she is a cheater and a fornicator-he wanted to spare her life since she would no doubt be stoned to death for it.

Then we think of Mary. She was no doubt shaken by the angel’s unexpected announcement Luke 1:26-38. Vs. 34-Mary asks an expected question. In the angel’s answer, God showed Mary that he was the God of the unexpected by causing her cousin Elizabeth, who was beyond childbearing years and considered barren for life, to become pregnant.

Sometimes when God is revealing something to us that might seem implausible he may show us another example of the unexpected coming to pass. This will help us to become convinced that what seems impossible is actually possible.

And so we see Mary accepting what the angel told her even though she didn’t understand it. Joseph accepted what the angel said and did what was asked of him-even though he didn’t understand all of what was going on. That’s how we need to be. We won’t always understand how the Lord works but because we are his servants we need to accept it, believe it and be obedient.

2) The birthplace was unexpected. Luke 2:1-7.

A smelly stable-is that the suitable place for the creator of the universe to be born? Is a manger (feeding trough) a suitable place to lay the precious son of God? Early tradition suggests the location of the birth of Jesus was actually a cave that was being used as a stable. If this is true then you not only have an environment where there’s smelly animals, feces and insects you also throw into the mix the dark, cold dampness of a cave. Far removed from the comforts of home. Far removed from a more sanitary environment. This is the surroundings of the newborn king. Surely not what would be expected.

Why would God allow this? I’m assuming Joseph and Mary were expecting to get into the Inn. I’m sure they weren’t expecting to have to go into a stable area and make due there. I can see them wondering why God would allow this. Was this a test? Was this an opportunity for Joseph and Mary to trust that everything would be okay despite this setback? I’m sure they were tempted to worry about the delivery and the sanitary conditions and the comfort and protection of the baby. Was this an ideal situation? No. Problematic? Possibly. A situation worth worrying and stressing about? No.

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