“But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”Luke 2:10-11
Christmas has always been the most anticipated holiday of all for me. Some of my fondest memories are my Christmases as a young child, growing up in Chicago. I often reminisce on how magical the holiday season was—the thrill of getting out in the deep snow, ice skating on the streets right in front of our home, building snowmen and forts, and having hot cocoa when we came inside.
I also vividly remember the intrigue of watching as wrapped presents were added under the tree nightly.
One of my favorite gifts, however, was not under the tree. It wasn’t even wrapped! And it was a complete surprise!
When I was nine years old, my parents gave me the BIGGEST gift I ever received as a kid. When our parents finally said those magic words, “Okay, you can come in now,” we all ran to see the wrapped and unwrapped gifts! Right there, in the middle of the living room was a brand new, beautiful piano!
I don’t remember ever asking for it, nor our family ever discussing how great it would be to have a piano. But, our parents said they wanted us to learn to play the piano. I claimed it immediately! I think my Mom and Dad were even more excited than I was! Their joy of having bought something they hoped we would long treasure and of having surprised us with their secret—a really wonderful secret—just gave them great happiness. I was the only one of the five kids that really loved taking piano lessons. That piano has been a delight, and I still enjoy playing it today in my home, all these decades later!
When I think of that special gift and the joy it has brought throughout the years, I think of that wondrous gift that Paul wrote about…the greatest gift of all—Jesus! 2 Corinthians 9:15 says, “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!”
Unlike my parents, though, God did not keep His plan a secret. Prophets foretold God’s plan to send a Messiah to save the world! And on that first Christmas, Mary and Joseph, having been surprised and in awe of the news brought by the angels—that God had chosen them to bring forth baby Jesus—experienced unspeakable joy in receiving the greatest treasure the world has ever known.