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What Were You Hoping For?

It can be highly stressful for a parent to watch their kids unwrap gifts at Christmas. How will the child react when he finally sees the present that their great aunt has hidden beneath the three levels of protection she has painstakingly devised? No kid can hide the anticipation. It’s all over their faces as well as the aggression manifested in the working of their hands. They cannot wait to see what is so annoyingly boxed, wrapped, taped, and then boxed, wrapped, and taped again!

The contrast of their anticipation with realization can be embarrassing. They are, after all, kids. They have a natural way about their authenticity when it comes to disappointment. Not to mention the constant reinforcement given to them by their parents to always be honest: “Tell the truth. Except when it comes to Aunt Mary’s selection of candy cane pajamas.” Children have yet to develop the social sensitivity to fake gratitude and an obligatory appreciation for everything. They won’t lie about this by saying “Oh, Aunty, what I’ve always wanted!!!” Their disappointment is clear. Most kids will toss it immediately over their shoulders with an exclamation: “Next!”

Theirs wasn’t the first Christmas gift to be rejected, however, adults do as well. We’re just more sophisticatedly sensitive in the way we go about it. In fact, the Bible informs us that the very first Christmas gift was rejected. To most adults, Jesus wasn’t the gift that they were hoping to receive.

John puts it this way: “He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him” (John 1:10-11 NLT). When Jesus didn’t fulfill the expectations of those waiting for something from heaven, the collective “Next!” reverberated through the ages. 

So this year, as you hold your breath for what you hope to receive or how your kids will receive their gifts, remember that as a believer you take God for who He is and how Jesus has revealed Him. Confront your own expectations for what a Savior should be, and witness the glory and beauty of who He is. He’s more than a precious babe in some manger. “Veiled in flesh, the Godhead see. Hail the incarnate deity. Pleased as man with man to dwell. Jesus. Our Emmanuel.”