We’ve already talked about how the prophets could not keep quiet about the promised birth of Jesus in the Old Testament. The other week, when I was preaching on the prophets I said that the long promised incarnation was the worst kept secret in history, because it really was!
In my mind the birth of Jesus, and all the events which we know so well from the Christmas stories, are like all those gifts we see in the advert. Badly wrapped so it’s obvious what they are, barely contained and rather poorly hidden.
Growing up a friend and I were always terrible when it came to gift giving, because we’d just get a bit over excited about what it is that we had found for each other. We’d often phone each other the as soon as a present had been bought and say “I’ve got your Christmas story, do you want to know what it is?!”
But I think that’s ok, sometimes gifts don’t need to be secret, surprising or hidden. Perhaps it really is the thought and the gift that matters and not whether it takes us by surprise. The gift of a child is just as great a gift, even though it is known about for nine months prior to arrival.
The gift of Jesus, of God’s presence with and among us on earth, was so great that it doesn’t matter that it was not a secret nor surprise. Perhaps the gift is so great that it couldn’t possibly be a surprise. The presence of God is so great that it can’t not shine and spill out of the person of Jesus. Jesus, a gift joyfully given for us all.