He Came!

“The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son,
and they will call him Immanuel”–which means,
“God with us.”
Matthew 1: 23

He came.

Christmas – more than anything else – is a time to joyfully celebrate the familiar, but all-so-fabulous truth that Jesus came.

God came to Earth.

It is marvelous…but unimaginable….
fantastic….but unfathomable…

Isaiah 7: 14 gave us the heads up that the Savior was coming and even a couple of clues:  He would be born of a virgin and would be called Immanuel.  Matthew quoted this verse and gave us the definition of Immanuel:  God with us.

God’s people knew a Messiah was coming.  They had looked for and longed for the Savior, but they still weren’t ready.  Many failed to connect the dots and see the big picture.  They even overlooked or misread the clues peppered throughout the Old Testament.

This week, I had a lovely “He came” surprise.  My first-born son, Kyle, and his precious wife Tori drove from Houston and arrived earlier than planned to surprise me.  I was expecting them to arrive late Saturday evening.  But when Tori had several work appointments cancelled, they began to plot the surprise.  They drove to Dallas on Thursday, enabling them to arrive in Siloam by Friday afternoon and pick Lydia up from school.

Ignorant of these plans, I was off to the Northwest Arkansas shopping corridor for the day.  Though my shopping was really finished, I was enticed over Friday morning coffee by the glossy Belks ad to add one more gift for Luke.  That, of course, meant going ‘round one more time for everybody.  (Like my grandmother, I want everyone to open the same number of gifts.  To even it all out, some may open socks or even underwear – but so be it.)

The afternoon found me meeting my mother-in-law at the nursing home for my father-in-law’s Christmas party.  I should have left after that.  If so, I would have had three more hours with Kyle and Tori. But my car turned east instead of west and off to Fayetteville I went for more shopping.

I even called Kyle and Tori to discuss the potential icy/rainy/turbulent weather moving in and to ask if they might be able to leave earlier than planned.  My clever daughter-in-law replied, “We are on the road now, but are several hours from Dallas.”  And those carefully chosen words described their whereabouts truthfully – in Siloam Springs and ready to pick Lydia up from school!

Apparently, the entire family was in on the surprise.  I missed several clues.  Keven sent several texts asking when I would be coming home on Friday. Lydia, Ginger, and Kevin doing a lot of tidying up on Thursday. Luke moving home from the dorm a day earlier than planned.

When I finally came home on Friday (they even hid their car elsewhere), the initial look on my face was one of confusion.  I didn’t initially recognize my own son.  Kyle stood there, wearing a ball cap and unshaven.  I first thought Luke must have brought a friend home from college. Tori was seated on the fireplace hearth, so I didn’t see her at first.

As I think about the many emotions of having them come unexpectedly early, it seems to point to some spiritual truth to ponder, as well:

  • I knew Kyle was coming, but I just didn’t know when. The when caught me by surprise.  God’s people were looking and expecting a Messiah, but they still missed it.
  • I didn’t even recognize my own son at first – and the first-century followers of God didn’t recognize Jesus. He fulfilled the Old Testament clues buried in the prophecies they had memorized, but they still missed it.
  • I was getting ready…but I wasn’t really ready – or was I? Saturday was to be a big baking day. The gift wrapping was mostly done, but lots left to do. Being ready for my son has nothing to do with baking his favorite cookies or having all the gifts under the tree. I was ready to embrace him, hug him tight, and let the tears of JOY flow.  He came!

It occurs to me that there is another surprise, but not-really-surprise visit to come.

Jesus is coming back!

We don’t know exactly when…or exactly what He will look like…but, as believers, we know He is coming.

And no matter what is left unchecked off on my To Do list, I know my heart is ready.

I long to embrace Jesus and let tears of JOY flow.

He came.  And….HE’S COMING AGAIN!

That is the best news of Christmas!

Merry Christmas to your house from mine!

       Laura Macfarlan


{Photo attribution:  www.bethelstpaul.org}