By Jim Pike
"Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." Luke 2:13-14
As I was meditating on the Christmas event, the word "suddenly" captured my attention. Suddenly − marked by abruptness. Suddenly the unexpected happened. Isn't that the way life is? Suddenly unexpected things happen that change our life, sometimes for the better, sometimes not so good. Suddenly, totally unexpected, I had a heart attack and triple bypass surgery this summer. Suddenly, on November 30th, as Alaskans were going about their business, a 7.0 earthquake shook their world. Suddenly on 9/11 terrorists flew a plane into the World Trade Center killing thousands. Suddenly on December 7, 1942 Pearl Harbor came under attack killing 2,403 Americans and causing carnage to the American naval fleet. Not so good.
Then there are suddenly joyful surprises like a soldier serving in Afghanistan suddenly showing up at the family Christmas dinner. Or the surprised look on a child's face who opens that special Christmas gift. When we discovered Betty was pregnant with our first son, we were surprised. Don't ask me why. We were young, but not that young. Life is so unpredictable and sometimes full of wonderful surprises.
How does this relate to Christmas? Think about it. God had been telling the world for hundreds of years that He would send a Savior. One day suddenly an angel appeared to Mary with news that she, a virgin, would be impregnated by the Holy Spirit and be the mother of the Messiah. It shook her world. Suddenly Joseph was informed that the girl he was engaged to was pregnant, and he was not the father. It shook his world. Suddenly, in a cattle stall somewhere in Bethlehem, God entered our world through the womb of a virgin. Suddenly on a cold night outside Bethlehem, a group of shepherd boys were startled in the night when a bright light from Heaven lit up their world and an angel appeared telling them the Messiah had been born in Bethlehem.
The "suddenness" of Christmas has a special message for us. We may be suddenly caught off guard or surprised by things life brings, but God never is. He has never been taken by surprise. Sudden world or personal events have never shaken Heaven. God is always God, never changing, never surprised, never shaken, always in control.
Christmas was a planned event. Details were revealed hundreds of years before it happened. Christmas loudly proclaims The Virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call Him Immanuel (which means "God with us"). Christmas proclaims that whatever happens to us God is with us. I hope you have opened your heart to Him as the Lord of your life so you can have the assurance that whatever happens, He is with you.
Bible Reading Plan - Day 260