TA-DA! Winner of the drawing for What Women Should Know About Facing Fear: Finding Freedom from Anxious Thoughts, Nagging Worries, and Crippling Fears by Christin Ditchfield is…(DRUM ROLL…WAIT FOR IT!…PRETEND YOU DON’T SEE THE NAME!…) Jane! Congratulations, Jane!

I remember well how my sister, Karen, wanted a bicycle so much one particular Christmas. And a beautiful bike was waiting near the Christmas tree on that special morning. All of us could see the bike, but for some reason, Karen couldn’t see it. She kept opening her gifts and looking around, but her eyes weren’t focusing on the bike. It was obvious she was disappointed. The rest of us snickered and rolled our eyes, wondering when she would see it standing against the wall between the Christmas tree and the front hall closet. 

At one point, when it was almost ridiculous how close she was and couldn’t see it, my mother spoke up, “Karen?”

Karen turned and looked at my mother with a disgruntled look on her face, “What, mom?”

“Would you please go get a folding chair out of the hall closet?”

Now it was Karen’s turn to roll her eyes. “Now?”

“Yes, honey, just do it.”

With hunched shoulders, she got up dejectedly and went over to the hall closet–right past the bike! We were shocked. She opened the hall closet, pulled out a chair, and took it over to my mom. 

At that point my parents couldn’t stand it anymore and neither could the rest of us. My dad said, “Karen, your bike is by the hall closet. Go get it!”

At first Karen’s face didn’t register any understanding but then she slowly looked over at the wall by the hall closet and her face broke into a thousand smiles. She lunged for the bike, squealing, and jumped on it. She couldn’t say “thank you” enough!

I can relate that story to how the Jews should have known the baby Jesus was the Messiah but their understanding was clouded by accepting only part of the prophecies about the Messiah and casting out the rest. They looked for a human king who would deliver them from their Roman bondage. They ignored all the other signs that said he would be born in Bethlehem by a virgin mother. They wanted deliverance, not a Savior. But God wanted to give them a Savior who would deliver them from their sins.

We still don’t know why Karen couldn’t recognize her bike standing right there. When we asked her at the time, she could only stare back and say, “I don’t know. I guess I was afraid I wouldn’t get it and so that fear blocked me seeing it.”

I can’t really say the motive of the Jews that blocked them acknowledging baby Jesus as the Messiah but maybe they were afraid of what he would require of them: submission and trust.
It was easier and less demanding to expect a King that would deliver them from their misery. Maybe they didn’t want to submit themselves from the heart. 

Our world can easily celebrate Christmas even though they aren’t committed to Christ because it’s easy to think of the baby Jesus who didn’t require anything. But his birth was only the beginning. In time, he would call people to make a decision: submit in trust or reject in disbelief. I hope you have submitted yourself in trust in a great Savior who left the wonders of heaven in order to die for your sins. 

Open your eyes and acknowledge the gift standing right there by you.