by Tony Nester

You May Not Like the Way God Does Things
Tony R. Nester
Luke 1:5-38

Sometimes I wish that Christmas didn't come every year. I know that makes me sound like a Scrooge, but there are moments when Christmas seems all too predictable. Christmas music in the Malls and stores sound all the same to me. The radio and TV commercials use the same tunes as well.

It's not just the music and commercials that are predictable, but we behave in predictable ways as well. There are the usual office parties, concerts, school and church programs. Some of us could replace this month's calendar with last year's December schedule and it would be pretty much the same.

I know many of you will argue that the sameness, the predictability, is what makes Christmas a tradition, and that tradition is special. I won't argue with you about it. I'm just saying that the first Christmas was a huge surprise. It was a totally unfamiliar, unexpected, and for many, an unbelievable happening. Lots of people did not like the way God worked things out in that first Christmas. And one of the truths about Christmas is that we might not like the way God chooses to work in our lives.

God can be unpredictable. When Moses asked for God's Name, God gave the Name: I AM WHO I AM. In other words, God told Moses: ''I'll be and I'll do whatever I want to be and do. I'm God and you're not. Don't try and figure me out with the human mind. I'm bigger than that.'' This is the kind of God who came up with Christmas.

There is a well-known legend about a seminary student approaching the great theologian Paul Tillich. Tillich had just lectured on the authority of the Scripture, and the student was clutching in his hand a large, black, leather-bound Bible. ''Do you believe this is the Word of God?'' shouted the student. Tillich looked at the student's fingers tightly gripping the book. ''Not if you think you can grasp it,'' said Tillich. ''Only when the Bible grasps you.'' (1).

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