One of the most common google searches at Christmas time is a Christmas miracle. Many of the Christmas specials, the TV commercials (think every kiss begins with K and all the ads when one spouse surprises the other with a new car. Which I’ve always found funny: Surprise, I got us a car payment!).
A miracle is the theme of all the hallmark movies, the Christmas cards we’ll send, and if we’re honest, we want one.
Now, some of us are skeptical and cynical that it’s possible because maybe you’ve asked for a miracle, you’ve asked for something, and it didn’t happen.
For some, Christmas is the time of year that we love. We love shopping, the energy, the parties, the gifts, seeing people we haven’t seen in years. I love that it is cold out, I can drink hot coffee, build a fire, and hope for snow in the mountains. Not snow, I shovel, but snow I can see from a distance.
But the Christmas season also carries with it a sense of loss, sadness and for many, merely wishing for something they don’t have.
The paradox of Christmas is that it is a reminder of the blessings we have. Still, it is also a reminder of the things we don’t have, the broken relationships, the broken promises, the hurts we haven’t been able to navigate, or let go of.
This is why many of us are skeptical of a Christmas miracle and even the possibility. This Christmas, we will hear of other people’s miracles. We’ll have friends announce their engagement at Christmas, or a relative will share that they are pregnant or getting that dream job, and we wonder what about us. We’ll see Christmas cards and pictures online of happy families and wonder about ours.
But something in us says, “what if? What if a Christmas miracle was possible?”
The story of Christmas found in Matthew and Luke is a story of the unexpected. Two thousand years ago, in Israel, the people of God had been waiting. God had been silent for 400 years. Think about that for a moment, 400 years and nothing from God. God had not sent a prophet. A king or even an angel to help them like in the past. There were so many prophecies made in the Old Testament, and yet for 400 years, nothing seemed to be happening.
God seemed eerily quiet. The miracles had stopped. The people of God wondered if God would remember his promise to send a Messiah.
Then, something unexpected happened. God remembered and came to them. Each time God entered into the Christmas story, it was unexpected. He didn’t come as a powerful king or prophet. He came in the form of a baby to an almost unknown poor family. What the Bible captures is various people’s responses when they encountered the angel or Jesus in unexpected ways.
And what we see again and again in the Christmas story is God often shows up to unlikely people in unexpected ways.
And for me, that’s one of the things that brings me hope.
It isn’t just at Christmas that God shows up in Scripture or our lives, but the problem is, we often miss him.
I am often unaware of what God is doing because I’m looking for God to do something different. I’m looking for him to answer a prayer a certain way, accomplish a sure thing, so while I wait and watch for that, God does something else, and I miss it.
Spiritual awareness is incredibly challenging to keep on high alert.