Unexpected Blessings

It's okay to talk about Christmas in June, right?! Well, in any case...

Did you get what you asked for?  Did you open that large box with the utmost anticipation of something that would blow your mind?  Did you sit on the couch, eyeballing the remaining presents under the tree, daydreaming that you'd be handed exactly what you had been wanting for the last couple months?!  Or, once you opened that specially wrapped gift, you gritted your teeth, forced the corners of your mouth to rise, and hesitantly said "Thank you.  It's just what I wanted..."  All the while, you were already planning your trip to customer service for store credit.  Let's face it.  We've probably experienced each of these scenarios throughout the years of our Christmas traditions. We search and search for meaning and significance in the things this world has to offer us, only to leave us unsatisfied and empty.  However, as I've watched my kids open their presents in years past, I saw things from a whole new perspective.  The perspective of unexpected blessings.

This may seem pretty obvious, but our kids usually have no clue as to what they would be receiving.  Of course most parents try to surprise their children with their gifts.  It would be an interesting morning to watch as my wife and I told each of them what was in each package before it was opened.  I'm thinking quite uneventful.  What brings me so much joy is to first see the anticipation on each of their faces as they are handed a gift.  We do our best to make this moment last.  What became evident was how similar they are after the pleasure of the unexpected blessing they just received faded.  It immediately became an "Ok.  Great.  That's cool.  What's next?  Is it my turn to open another present?"  The thing they had anticipated with extreme happiness, met with shrieks of shock, laughter, and some tears of joy, was now ten seconds later, set aside as if it was yesterday's news.  This is the moment upon which I spent some reflection as to how this pertains to my life in Christ.

"Faith is the basis, the substructure (means lit. 'that which stands under') of all that the Christian life means, all that the Christian hopes for.” (Leon Morris)

Is this how I had spent a majority of my Christian life?  Going from Sunday to Sunday, receiving a blessing through worship and bible study, and then setting it aside as I went on with my day-to-day routine between Monday and Saturday.  Only then waiting with bated breath to what I would receive the next Sunday morning.  Church is an exciting thing for me.  I long for it.  I anticipate the fellowship with other believers, the worship, the teaching, and the joy of being in the presence of my Lord.  However, why wait for Sunday?  Why can I not be living this way the other six days of the week?  Why would I not anticipate being with my Heavenly Father every day?  Is He not the same Monday-Saturday as He is on Sunday?  This is what I strive for.  Constant fellowship and worship each and every day.

" celebrates now the reality of the future blessings that constitute the objective content of hope." (William L. Lane)

My faith in Christ needs to be now.  But not for the sheer pleasure of what I will get out of the deal.  God continues to amaze me every moment of every day.  He gives and gives and gives every day.  What I am starting to take pleasure in is the anticipation of what the Lord unwraps for me.  My hope needs to rest in Him every day.  My joy is in the constant revelation of His presence in my life.  Every day I seek to find the gift of Jesus.

"More than this, our decisions should be motivated by the expectation of receiving rewards...'Don't life for the world will promise you today!  Live for what God has promised you in the future!" (Warren Wiersbe)

"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1).  I will continue to commit the whole of my life to Him.  I want to surrender ALL, not almost.  I seek to live each day in the anticipation of what He has promised me.  My hope, my joy, my everything is to live now for the rest in eternity that will come.  My faith needs to be more active.  My faith needs to take steps forward for His glory.  Faith is not something to have and hold on to.  Your faith needs to be active and alive.  What would be the point if my children were given their presents, only to take them in to their possession and do nothing with them?  What's the point of receiving a gift and not using it?  Can you imagine if my kids brought their wrapped gifts upstairs and piled them in the corner?  They would go to school after the break and tell their friends they got all kinds of presents.  But as soon as they are asked what they got, how would they be able to share?

Having faith is as good as placing an unwrapped present in the corner of your room and doing nothing with it.  We've been gifted an amazing present in the birth, life, ministry, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.  It's time to use your faith.  Walk it.  Talk it.  For the love of Pete, re-gift it!!  Share the love that you've been given with all you know.  You never know, they could be sitting there with anticipation of what gift they'll receive next.

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