Advent: The Worst Gift

When I reflect on Christmas, I am more likely to remember the worst Christmas gifts I received than my favorites. I remember the ones that disappointed me the most. Why? Because when I cradled that shiny, wrapped gift I had tremendous anticipation. As I popped off the bow, my mind wondered what it could be. As I snapped the ribbon, I started to dream big. As I peeled back the wrapping paper, awe transformed into “shucks.”

Imagine the disappointment Joseph felt when he watched this “Son of God” be born into the world. He had been promised a Messianic King that would bring Peace to the world. He was promised the Savior of our Sins (Jesus) and God with Us (Emmanuel). He had been cajoled by angelic hosts to stick with his teenage, pregnant fiancé.

Suddenly, as they cleaned, cradled and fed this newborn infant, I wonder if Joseph had a moment of disappointment. How could this child be the Savior? Was Mary making this all up?

So while Joseph held this child, I hope there was a twinge of disappointment. Why? Because it is there in our disappointment that we can either chose to trust or seek control. We trust when we can hold this disappointment, but still say to God “Okay, I look forward to seeing what you can do through this mess.”

It would take 30 years for the miraculous work of this newborn child to be demonstrated (and by that point Joseph is gone from the story). It would take 33 years from this moment for the demonstration of saving grace to be realized. It would take an agonizing 72 hours for a tortureous death to be transformed into Amazing Grace.

We can find peace in our disappointments when release our illusions of control and trust God. Life will never live up to the hype and hope you had, but this is the life you have been blessed with.

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