Some of the most precious Christmas gifts I have ever received have come in unexpected wrapping.
- Roughly packaged treasures from small children,
- Innocuous cards containing expensive surprises,
- The smallest of presents from the largest of hearts
To accept or reject a gift based on its external presentation would be unthinkable.
This week I have been reading the Christmas accounts in Luke and Matthew and wondering again at the priceless treasure hidden in a stable and cradled in a manger—Jesus, Immanuel, God With Us.
The packaging may have been rough and ordinary, but this gift was also gilded with unexpected lashings of heavenly glory.
After 400 years of prophetic silence in the land of Israel, angels burst upon the scene bringing the word of the Lord direct from God’s throne.
And people—not prophets as of old, but ordinary people—are filled with the Holy Spirit and bring prophetic proclamations.
As Luke recounts events surrounding the birth of Jesus, my ‘Spirit Filled Life Bible’ makes the margin note, ‘..the new era is signalled by the renewal of the gift of prophecy, which has been dormant…’
I muse on the angelic and prophetic activity recorded by Luke, in the first two chapters alone:
- The angel Gabriel appears to Zacharias, bringing God’s word and instruction concerning John (Luke 1:11-22)
- The angel Gabriel is sent to Mary (Luke 1:26)
- Elizabeth makes a prophetic proclamation concerning Jesus (Luke 1:41-45)
- Zaharias prophesies (Luke 1:67-79)
- An angelic visitation to shepherds in the fields (Luke 2:8-15)
- Simeon prophesies over the baby Jesus (Luke 2:25-32)
- Anna prophesies concerning Jesus (Luke 2:36-38)
Matthew adds to this, instances of angelic guidance in dreams to Joseph and the wise men (Matt 1:20-23, Matt 2:1-15).
These events are not limited to the occurrences surrounding Jesus’ birth. Throughout the book of Acts prophetic guidance and yes, angelic activity, continue to be a part of the normal early church experience (see Acts 1:10, 5:19, 8:26, 10:3, 12:7, 27:23 for accounts of angels, before we even start on prophecy and signs).
Supernatural is now the new normal, testifying of Jesus and attributing to His saving grace and Divine intervention.
As I meditate upon this, I find it incredibly challenging.
What if the gift of God’s Presence, this year and beyond, was to come in unexpected wrapping? What if I failed to see it because I was looking for something else—or worse, dismissed it out of hand?
I am comfortable with prophecy and have grown to expect the occasional spiritual dream. But angels and signs? Reading Luke, I realise, with dismay, that I tend to rate some types of supernatural activity as acceptable and normal, and others as unexpected and abnormal.
I wouldn’t consider picking and choosing gifts under the tree based on the colour or packaging or size. So why would I do this with the gift of God?
As we enter the New Year, let’s be open to whatever way God chooses to manifest His purposes and His activity in our lives, our churches and in those around us. Let’s look for Him both in the rough and ordinary, and the supernatural, glorious and unforeseen.
Let’s enter the coming year EXPECTANT.
With prayers for a blessed Christmas from my house to yours!
© Helen Calder Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching
A part of the David McCracken Ministries family