Years ago my husband’s younger brother lived with us while he was in college. He arrived in September and as December rolled around, I was curious as to what he would buy me for Christmas. We hadn’t known each other incredibly well before he moved in but over the past few months I had intentionally tried to invest in the relationship.
He had gone to my in laws over the holiday break and left us gifts under our tree. I don’t remember what my husband received, but it was nice gift, thoughtful and appreciated. When I opened my gift I was confused – inside the bag lay an old piece of hockey equipment, a goalie’s glove.
As the one who had cooked for him, picked up after him and watched way more of the sports channel than I ever desired, I had expected the gift to symbolize an appreciation, a value in the relationships we had, unique as it was. Whatever this joke was, it left me feeling hurt.
I tossed the glove in the outside trash can with disappointment. A few days later when I saw my brother in law at a family gathering, he asked if I liked my gift. Scowling, I gave a sarcastic thanks and told him I tossed that disgusting glove in the garbage. He burst out laughing, and asked if I had put my hand inside the glove. Obviously not! He told me to check inside. When we came back home I dug the glove out of the trash and peeked inside. There was a DVD I had long been hoping for.
Love was born in a manger over two thousands years ago yet many rejected Him because of the wrapping. This love, though vastly greater than anyone could have imagined, came to earth in a way no one anticipated and for some, in a way they couldn’t accept.
People were confused. They mistook His simplicity and humility for weakness. They expected the Messiah to be steeped in strength and royalty, to overthrow the oppression of their present day situation. From his birth in a manger to His death on the cross, so much of His life defied the expectations people had for Him.
I understand. This wasn’t what some of them had hoped for, dreamed of and painstakingly anticipated for hundreds of years. This wasn’t the answer they wanted or they felt they needed. If I’m to be very honest with you, I’ve got a couple situations in my life where I’m left wondering what is God doing? Did I not hear correctly? Why are these prayers remaining unanswered? Isn’t the loving thing to do in these situations to respond, and frankly, respond in the way I want Him to? I don’t understand the silence, I don’t understand the waiting period, I don’t understand why things are the way they are.
In times of confusion, I’m reminded love is multifaceted with countless expressions. Just because it doesn’t always show up like I think it should doesn’t mean that it isn’t there. Love can mean stepping up to offer help, or stepping back to give an opportunity. It can mean standing behind someone or sitting beside them. Sometimes love means speaking up and other times it means staying silent. At times love comes and at times it goes, sometimes love gives and sometimes it takes. It can say yes or no, now or later. It can bring smiles or tears, laughter or pain. It can be full of glitz or full of grit. It can be found in a rustic manger or in an empty tomb. Love is still love regardless if we like what it looks like at times.
Despite Christ’s life on earth being so different than what was expected, the details fulfilled every Old Testament prophecy. Now with our place in history we can read the prophecies of the New Testament and look forward to what is coming when they are all fulfilled!
We know that because of His great love for us, Jesus will return to this earth strong and mighty, victorious and powerful! We know He is going to defeat darkness and death and make all things right. Hurt and confusion, sorrow and suffering will cease and we will spend eternity in face to face fellowship with our Saviour!
This Advent season, as we remember how Jesus came in the humblest of forms, we can look forward to how He will return, with His glory, majesty and power in full force! Love will return and Love will win!
Rachel Albrecht is blessed to be a wife and mom. She resides in Leamington Ontario, and each winter is very thankful to live in the most southern tip of Canada.