I bought the gift online and the box arrived on my porch yesterday.
It was quite a large box , much larger than I expected. I couldn’t imagine what could possibly be inside since nothing I’d ordered would be that bulky.
I dropped the load I had in my hands inside the front door and hauled the package inside, cutting it open quickly with scissors. That’s when I found the surprise.
My son has two things topping his Christmas wish list: Lego sets and dinosaur toys. So, when this particular T-Rex toy went on super-sale on Black Friday online, I snatched it up, knowing he’d love it. The T-Rex is his favorite dinosaur and he always loves this brand o f toys. I expected it to be a few inches tall like all the other toys we have by this same toymaker.
But this was beyond all expectation. This T-Rex stands at least 5 times larger than all the other action figures and is so big that he can “eat” the other toys and swallow them down into his expansive belly.
My son is going to love this.
I would never, ever have bought this toy knowingly, but this accident and this surprise will probably be the hit of his Christmas morning. I can’t wait.
Sometimes it can be so hard to “work up” anticipation, expectation and joy during the Advent season. Calendars bog us down. “Must-do’s” and “have-to’s” can stifle our spirit. Grief and even just disappointment at how the year turned out can weary us.
I need the reminder (maybe others do also?) about the unexpectedness of God. How He breaks down the boxes we cram Him into. We package Him up, and He surprises us. He is bigger and grander and far more unexpected than our wildest expectations.
I think I know how situations will unfold and sometimes I settle into thinking that “this will never change.” I see the problem. I see the complications. I see the mess.
I want to see Him, who is able to do more and to do it in the most wildly creative way. I cannot trust in my plans or my solutions and fixes, but I can trust in our Mighty God.
I remember Paul’s song of praise in Ephesians:
Now to him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us— to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21 CSB).
God is the defier expectations. He is our Above-and-Beyond God.
In my Advent devotional this week, the readings began in Genesis, telling why we need a Savior, how because of our sin we needed a Rescuer and Deliverer who could restore our relationship with God.
And Adam and Eve knew this. They heard God’s curse on the serpent:
I will put hostility between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring.
He will strike your head,
and you will strike his heel (Genesis 3:15 CSB).
They knew that Another—a Deliverer—would come to defeat the serpent once and for all.
But what would this look like? How would the Deliverer come? How long would they have to wait?
Surely they could not have imagined as they headed out of the Garden of Eden how Jesus would come, how He would be born, how His rescue would come through His perfect life and sacrificial death. Surely they could not have known the long line of generations who would wait for the coming of the Messiah.
My devotional reading says this:
“Scholar James Boice says Adam and Eve likely thought Cain was the deliverer who would defeat the serpent that God promised in Genesis 3:15. It’s even reflected in the name they gave him…In view of the promise of a deliverer, [Cain’s] name probably means, ‘Here he is’ or ‘I’ve gotten him.’ Eve called her son ‘Here he is’ because she thought the deliverer had been sent by God.” (Advent, Lifeway Women, p. 14)
In Genesis 3, God says there will be a Deliverer. In Genesis 4, Eve is pregnant and gives birth to Cain, the first human baby ever.
Maybe Adam and Eve truly thought this baby was the one who would rescue and restore them. Cain would be the promised one.
They could have grown disappointed and discouraged with Cain’s failure and how nothing turned out the way they expected.
Still, God had a plan they could never have imagined, the perfect Savior who would come at the perfect time:
When the time came to completion, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons (Galatians 4:4-5 CSB).