Read:  Luke 1:5-56

You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus.  He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High.  Luke 1:31-32

For 400 years, from Malachi to Jesus, the people of Israel kept their religion alive and and have focused on the LORD and lived in the land of their fathers, despite continual invasion and occupation by the Greeks and Romans.  During this time God has remained quiet.  They were the silent years, and the people of God waited for the LORD to fulfill the prophecies and send the Messiah to liberate them from oppression and restore the glory of Israel.

The Messiah was on his way, but wasn’t coming in a way that anyone anticipated.  Jesus would be the biggest surprise the world had ever received.  Even though God began to speak again – to Zechariah in the temple and to Mary – this was all too humble, and the who, what, when, where and how of His arrival defied the common expectation of what the Messiah would be like.

And so the God of the universe is about to show up as one of us, and the people who are looking for Him the most (the religious people) miss Him completely.

God shows up in big and small ways in our lives every day, but we often are blinded to His presence.  We are prejudiced about what His work in our lives will look like.  The religious leaders of Jesus day couldn’t see that Jesus was God’s Son for two reasons.

First, they had prejudices about what the Messiah would be like.  A mighty King, powerful and opulent.  A military ruler and liberator.  They knew what they wanted him to do and Jesus wasn’t fitting or fulfilling their expectations.

Second, because of that, Jesus challenged their agenda, their power and their control.  When our agenda, power and control are challenged we will often turn on the one who is challenging them.  For the person longing to follow Jesus this is always a struggle.  Inherent in following Jesus is the call to die to our agenda and surrender to His.  The religious leaders were willing to do whatever it took to hold on to theirs, including kill people.

Jesus landed in our world not to condemn us but to save us.  He has landed in your life too, and the question every one of us must ask is…  Am I willing to lay down my preconceived notions, and am I willing to die to myself and live for him?

I don’t know about you, but I don’t ever want to miss God because I have Him all figured out or because I stubbornly hold to my agenda over His.  Is there any place in your life that God is calling you to surrender, or where He is working in a way that doesn’t fit your plan?  Be willing to humbly submit that area of your life to Him today and open your eyes to see the mystery of what He’s doing.

Jesus – thank You for coming to earth, for the rescue plan, for the hope that You bring.  I choose to let You be God in my life.  I choose to die to my plan and live for Yours, and I choose to see You work, even in ways I didn’t expect…  In Your name, amen.

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