And there are presents that are wrapped before us. Gifts that the Lord has set under our tree and stamped our names upon. Each one has an appointed time that it will be opened. They are things that we see in a measure and yet do not fully see. We see the present wrapped under the tree but we do not see what the gift truly looks like. These gifts are things He desires to give us and things He so desperately desires for us to have. Big boxes wrapped in colorful designs and patterns. To a kid, it seems as if some gifts have been under the tree FOREVER... "Dad, can I just open it already? This has been under the tree since the day after Thanksgiving. I don't know how much longer I can wait... I think I'm going to die!" And it's the Joy that He has set before us, the promises that He has given that has stirred excitement and expectation. All of Heaven eagerly awaits that days mankind will be able to receive the things the Lord has promised them. It's not as if we are barren though. It's not as if we are empty handed. The Lord has already given us enough...but yet He desires for us to obtain MORE than enough. The number of the blessings for His people are the same as the number of days that we will spend with Him. Both are INFINITE. Just when we thought we've received our inheritance in full, we look under our tree to find NEW promises and GREATER gifts that He has in store for us. The religious hold tight to the things they already have and say, "I have enough!". But our heavenly Father desires to unleash upon His sons and His daughters the FULLNESS of His kingdom and the ENTIRETY of His love. In Hebrews 11 we see a bunch of examples of men and women who were given "presents" or "promises" under their tree. These were things the Lord told them they would have. To Abraham He made a covenant to make his name GREAT, that his descendants would be numbered as the stars and that he would inherit the land the Lord would lead him to. When Abraham died he only had two sons (which only one was born of the promise) and he lived in a tent as a foreigner in the land the Lord was going to give him.
Mary was promised a Son who would be the Messiah. His name was Immanuel for He would be our "God, who is with us". For 9 months Mary carried her "promise". It's almost as if she carried her present with her, treasuring it and pondering it as she carried it close to her heart. For nine months she was ridiculed. She was mistreated and wrongfully accused because of what the Lord had promised her and called her to carry. But she ENDURED the accusations and the suffering of childbirth for the Joy set before her the same way her Son ENDURED the cross for the Joy set before Him. A lot of people want a "present" or a "promise" from the Lord, but few will endure the ridicule and suffering from the time they've been given it in measure- to the moment it's fully unwrapped and their eyes see it for the first time.
To receive the "promises" of God we must walk in the "ways" of God as we are being developed and disciplined to handle the things God desires to give us in His appointed "time". Not many are willing to wait. Everyone wants to open the present before His PERFECT time. Few are willing to endure, throwing off everything that hinders and running with perseverance through the journey that He has marked out for us to inherit the things He desires to give us.
Lord we thank you for the gift you have given us! We thank you for your Son that has become our Savior, our Joy and Great Reward. We have more than enough in you. Thank you for enabling you people to stand strong till the end. To walk in your ways with fullness of Joy. We treasure and ponder every promise, every gift that you have generously given to us. The Joy set before us is greater than the things we must endure to receive them. Thank you for your grace, Lord. We love you, have your way in us today. Amen