November 29, Isaiah 7:10-14
By Rudy Pulido, Pastor, Southwest Baptist Church, St. Louis
On a shelf in my office is a small, framed photo of a Western Flyer bike. It has sat there for more than 10 years. For most of the year it sits there unnoticed, just one of several other items that occupy that particular shelf space. But when Advent comes, the photo causes me to pause and reflect on Christmas past and Christmas present
I grew up in a lower middle income home, one of four children. Christmas at 1809 Mark Street was both a measured and practical experience. Each of us received one, two or, in a good year, three gifts. The gifts always included an article of clothing we needed — gloves, hats, boots. That left us with a gift or two of the "good stuff" — games and toys! There were few Christmases when what we really, really, really wanted came, but it didn't matter because what we received always seemed to be enough. Then there was that one Christmas.
Gifts beneath the tree seemed rather slim and so I thought it must be one of "those" years. I opened my gift and believed that was all there was to Christmas that year. But then my parents took my sister and me down to the basement where there stood two Western Flyer bikes with bows on the handlebars. I couldn't believe it! It was more than I could ever imagine, more than I ever thought was possible.
When we read of Ahaz's refusal to ask God for a sign, we struggle to understand his motives. Were they mixed? Hidden? Whatever they may have been, God gives Ahaz a sign that goes beyond his wildest expectations. God takes him to the basement and shows him the coming Christ child. And to us that is Christmas — more than we can imagine, more than we ever thought possible.
This Christmas I again open my heart to what is beyond what I can imagine and beyond what I think is possible. Why not join me?