The mother of one of my childhood friends texted me recently, saying, “I’d love to take you shopping and buy you something.” My first reaction was, You’re kidding.

You’d be shocked, too, if you knew how uncommon it is for leaders to be on the receiving end of an invitation like this. Maybe some people believe their leaders have reached it and don’t need anything, physically or spiritually. Not true.

My friend bought me a pair of gorgeous leopard pants, black shirt, and accessories. I am so grateful. I am usually the blesser, and I love that role, but the idea that she thought of me really touched me. What an awesome, unexpected gift.

I laugh imagining the look on Mary’s face when the angel told her God was giving the world an awesome, unexpected gift and doing it through her.

Mary was single…and a virgin…so this news wasn’t as exciting to her at first as my cool leopard pants were to me. The mom-to-be would face criticism, and I bet some uncomfortable conversations with her man, Joseph.

This unexpected Gift would not only change her life but would change the world.

And the world was stunned. People knew the Messiah was going to make His debut in Bethlehem, they just thought it’d be more…MORE. Maybe a celebration and a catered meal. A speaker, perhaps. Certainly, the scholars would speak on such an auspicious day. No. Sorry. Pagan magicians and smelly shepherds were there, but the haughty religious types, well-versed in all things prophetic, weren’t invited. They didn’t see that coming.

This is God’s way. The love the Father has for us….every one of us... is unexpected and unmerited and unmatched.

And He gave the priceless gift of Jesus to prove it.

Best. Gift. Ever.

The best presents aren’t in a box, wrapped in tissue paper and ribbon. The best gifts are lived. In Part Two, we’ll see how God is expressing His love in our lives in very unexpected (sometimes uncomfortable) ways.

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