All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.” (Matthew 1:22, 23)
Christmas Day is almost upon us, which means it is time to ask an important question: Are you a ‘squidger’ or a ‘ripper’?
Squidgers and rippers are two different attitudes to opening presents on Christmas Day. A ripper gets straight in, finding that free corner without sticky tape and ripping into the paper immediately to find the present underneath. A squidger, on the other hand, pokes and prods the present beforehand, probing to see if you can guess what is concealed inside before the unwrapping begins.
I have to confess, I am a squidger, and perhaps you are too. When I was younger, I used to squidge and poke the presents under the tree to see if I could guess what they were. That’s frowned upon as an adult (but doesn’t mean I don’t do it!) But one of my reasons was to see if the presents I was getting were the ones I had asked for – the ones I expected.
What have you asked for this Christmas? Fun, family, warmth and joy? As we unwrap God’s present this Christmas, we find it is very different to what we expected or even asked for. God’s present is announced to Joseph in Matthew chapter 1 verse 23: ‘they will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God with us’).’ God’s unexpected present to us at Christmas is to enter into our world and enter into our struggles. To come into our humanity, to know our pain and to provide a way for us to be saved.
So, whatever you have asked for, I hope you get what you expect under the Christmas tree this Christmas time. But I also hope you get much more than you expect in Jesus Christ – joy, peace, salvation and the promise of ‘God with us’, at Christmas and forevermore.