by gary-foote on December 20, 2010

I love surprises. Actually, I love being on either end of a good surprise: as the planner or the recipient. I have fun hiding from my wife when she has to run errands and surprising her as she comes in the front door (A note to the wise on this tactic, make sure that if you are surprising someone coming in the front door that he or she is not carrying eggs or they may get scrambled early). I like sneaking up on my daughter when she’s reading a book and startling her, leading her to let out a high pitched squeal. I also like buying gifts for people for no other reason than to surprise them and let them know that I am thinking about them. Surprises are so great because they come at the moment you least suspect.

Two of my favorite surprises are my children. Neither of them was “planned,” but God knew that we needed them at a specific time (one of the many benefits of NFP). Like most parents, my kids can be the source of my greatest joy, my deepest concern, my greatest affection, and the loss of my sanity. Whether it is receiving an unexpected and undeserved hug and kiss or rushing to the hospital because a new food allergy is discovered through “trial and error,” my children have proven to me that all children are truly the masters of surprise.

I let you know that my two children are two of my favorite surprises. So what could possibly be my all time favorite surprise? Well, it’s the life of another child, Jesus Christ. I just cannot fathom how great God’s love is for us that He freely chose to leave Heaven to become one of us. It moves me to tears to think that in His infinite love for me, God overlooks my many imperfections and sin and comes to me as an infant in the great miracle of the Incarnation. God humbles Himself to become dependant on one of His creatures, the Blessed Virgin Mary, to care for His every need as He lives his life as a baby. He fully knew what it would mean to have to humble His divinity to His human weakness, and yet still chooses to do so because He loves me.

God’s grace and mercy is much more than I deserve and can understand. However, I gratefully turn to Him and become the one who is continually surprised by the love that knows no ends or limits. As you take a few days during the end of Advent and the celebration of Christmas, I pray that you too will be surprised by how much God loves you! We will have a lot more time to pick up where we left off in encouraging each other in our ministerial lives, but for now, I hope we might both find the time to encounter Jesus Christ in an even deeper way this Christmas. Have a wonderful and blessed Christmas, and I look forward to great ministry in the New Year!


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