The Christmas of 1988, my parents and I went to a party with some friends from the neighborhood. After a nice dinner together, it was time to open the presents. The toy of choice that year for young boys was a Transformer. If you aren’t familiar with the original Transformers, then I am sorry and I will pray for you.
Transformers were toys that would change form from a common object, such as a truck or car, into a robot action figure. It was, and in some regards still is, the greatest Christmas gift someone can receive.
For one reason or another, I was convinced that I was getting a Transformer that evening. I waited patiently for the other kids to open their gifts so I could open my package and instantly play with my Transformer.
Much to my dismay, my Christmas gift wasn’t a Transformer, but a regular G.I. Joe. Now let me be clear: I really liked G.I. Joe and, under normal circumstances, this would have been a great gift. On this evening, however, I was expecting a Transformer. A G.I. Joe just wouldn’t do.
Disappointments are a part of life. Even the Israelites faced disappointment.
For years, the children of God looked forward to a coming Messiah. With every baby boy, there was a hope for a future king. This messiah would provide safety and shelter for all of Israel. This messiah would sit on the throne and be a righteous ruler. The Israelites never imagined there could be more. So when Jesus showed up on a donkey and not a horse, they were disappointed. When Jesus gave to Caesar what was Caesar’s they were disappointed. When Jesus came to rule their hearts and not their land, they were disappointed.
What Israel failed to consider is that Jesus had a different agenda. We are often disappointed with Jesus because we fail to recognize that he has a different plan. When life gets turned upside down — by a lost job, a lost relationship, a poor diagnosis, whatever the case — it’s always good to remember that Jesus might just have a different agenda that we don’t know about yet. This Christmas season, we celebrate that Jesus exceeded the expectations of the Israelites.