Time travel with me, just for a moment...
Imagine Christmas Eve as if you were young again. Did you leave cookies for Santa or food for his reindeer? I never believed in Santa, but I did make some reindeer food. Not much made it to the lawn, however, because granola is delicious. I would sleep on the couch next to the tree with my sisters, soaking in every moment of the wonder-filled season. The presents below the pine needles, wrapped in reds and greens, contained mystery. I didn't know what they were, but I knew they were good. The anticipation kept us awake past our bedtimes. I was expectant for Christmas morning. I had been waiting, and I. was. ready.
Then the sun broke through the windows on the morning of that glorious day. Christmas.
Each gift was opened, admired, and appreciated. They all garnered thanks, from the small ones that'd be gone in a week (see: gum and tic tacs) to the shiny boxes with bows. And guess what? I did not always get exactly what I wanted. Every single item on my Christmas list was not found under wrapping paper. But I didn't really mind (or even remember) because the real gifts were so much better. They were unknown, yet anticipated, and when they were given... they were good.
Friends, what if we approached God with the same wonder and expectation, like we were in second grade again? This is where I am right now. It's not Christmas... yet. We've been given gifts, but not all of them are opened. Not all of them are known. And that leaves me in breathless expectation.
Receive... Like a gift. The kingdom of God. Our Savior in a manger, the best gift of all.
Merry Christmas, friends! You are immensely loved and relentlessly pursued.