We are officially in the Christmas season. I love this time of year. But 38 years in, there’s not much that’s surprising about it anymore. It’s fun with small kids; you get to live out the newness of it through them. But for myself, Christmas is pretty familiar. There’s not much that’s unexpected. I’m probably going to get some clothes from my mom. I usually tell my wife basically what I want.
Don’t get me wrong. I love Christmas. But people say familiarity breeds contempt. And I guess as I’ve grown familiar with Christmas, I understand why some people have a hard time with Christmas. The traditions are getting stale. There’s not much to look forward to. And all the festivities and decorations do little to hide the pain of real life. Even while the dancing and festivities of the Macy’s parade is going on in one channel, the next channel shows all the scandal, abuse, and horrors of the world. And so all the trappings, lights, and events of Christmas end up seeming like a thin coat of paint over a broken rundown world. And before long, that paint will be washed away.
Is that all Christmas is? Are there any surprises left for cynical, hurting people like us?
God has always acted in surprising ways to save his people, and one of the ways he does that is through miraculous births. When all is dark, when hope is gone, a baby is born. Christmas is all about God accomplishing the unexpected, the astonishing, the unthinkable in order to save his people. If this is how God has always acted, then maybe even in a broken and messed up world as ours, God still has something surprising to show us in his Word today.
Before I read Judges 13, let me give a bit of context. ...
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