The shepherds were exhausted. Their bodies ached. The steep and rocky paths had bruised their feet. This day had been long. Just like every other day. They’d spent hours chasing one little lamb through the wilderness. And now that they’d finally gotten him back into the fold, all they wanted to do was sleep.

            They’d been taught the promises. God was sending a Messiah, a Savior. But as the silent years passed, Israel's expectancy waned. They wondered if it would ever happen. They forgot. I imagine none of them expected the Messiah to come that night.

            In The Unexpected Christmas Gift, Eli and Holly have both suffered losses. Their lives have not followed the paths each had planned or turned out as each had dreamed and expected. They both handle their disappointments by staying busy.

            Eli immerses himself in his work and his church. Maybe his expectations were unrealistic, and he wanted too much. Maybe this is the best his life can be. After all, he’s comfortable. He’s even happy. It’s a good life. Just less than the life he expected.

            Holly works hard, too, but she runs away from God. She’s angry, and instead of handing her anger to God, she pushes it down deep inside, covering it over with busy-ness. She tells herself she should be able to accept God’s will and continue on with living. But she can’t. Her life is not what she expected.

            But then God…

            While Eli and Holly are resigned to live lesser-than-expected lives, God has been making a new way for them through their deserts. And when the time is right, He brings them together in the most unexpected way. The whole time they’d been living life, He’d been working to give them lives full of abundance. They simply needed to wait and trust.

            Isaiah 43: 18-19 tells us:

“Forget the former things;

    do not dwell on the past.

 

See, I am doing a new thing!

    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?

I am making a way in the wilderness

    and streams in the wasteland.”

           

            Humans are not naturally patient beings. We often expect everything to be done in three minutes, just like our microwave dinners. But, even when we can’t see it, our Heavenly Father is always, ALWAYS, working for our good. When life seems less than desirable, we must trust Him to bring good from it. Expect it.

            In God’s perfect timing, Eli and Holly found each other…not as either could have predicted or would have expected.

            And we all know the rest of the story about the shepherds.

            Christmas is a season of expectancy. A time when a Heavenly Father reminds His children of His love and sacrifice for them.

            So, live expectantly. Our Heavenly Father has something wonderful ahead for you.

 

 

Carol James

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