God came to us as a stranger. Nobody expected to see the Messiah come in the way He came. God fulfilled the prophecies about Himself but not in ways anyone could grasp. Really, not even those closest to Jesus understood who He really was, not until after the resurrection. Even then the realization came slowly.


God in a manger was a scandal. But, what glory it was in reality. If one could fully grasp the significance of the event, the wonder of it . . . well, of course, we cannot.

He hid Himself for our sakes.

And, today, in our personal lives and stories, it seems the same is true. Jesus can, anytime He decides, unveil His awesome power (that glorious Divinity), to prove His presence with us in similar ways He did during the days He wore sandals. He showed His glory through miracles and loving wonders and still does. We long for those times, don’t we?

He lived 30 years without any sign of being anything but an ordinary man. And, for about 3 years only did He unveil the beauty, the wonder, the mystery, of His presence.

I think He lets us miss Him, lets us yearn for answers, watches us grope in the dark for His will—all for good reason. I think it is so that He can surprise us. The favors come on His timetable, though, not ours. He sets us up in situations and circumstances that make us need Him. It is unavoidable, this dependence we have on Him. Yet, in this way, He is continually changing us and wooing us closer. Our faith grows. We begin to see Him more clearly, in places we hadn’t expected to find Him.


God became a crying baby in diapers, for Heaven’s sake. He was truly the Creator of the universe, don’t forget. This is in keeping with His character.


No doubt about it, Jesus enjoyed shocking His friends. He did it often. His first miracle was in the production of an extravagant amount of wine. Imagine the glee on Jesus’ face as he watched the wedding guests laugh and dance. He healed everyone He came across and showed generosity at every turn. His anger surprised folks, too. He turned to stone occasionally—because He couldn’t surprise the religious leaders with His generosity, with His desire to forgive and dazzle people. No, Jesus wanted people to enjoy His presence, not shun His kindness. He wanted to steal hearts, after all—that’s why He came.


I think Jesus graces us with similar miracles today—ones He often never gets the credit for. I have personally experienced quite a few. Even so, I often feel like my prayers are not being heard because I don’t see immediate results. Or I feel confused and unable to make decisions, with what seems like no direction from above. But, if we ask for guidance and we hear crickets, does it mean God isn’t listening? No, I don’t believe that for a second. I have to remind myself, He answers at the perfect time and in the right way. He has always been this way. Above all, He wants us to know He is truly with us. He is present.

 God loves to surprise us.