One Christmas Eve a few years ago, we enjoyed a phone call from our son who was a journeyman missionary in Amsterdam.
The next morning after the family had opened their gifts, we realized one gift was missing. All I could say was, “The man said it would be ready to pick up early this evening.” Later that day, after returning from picking up the package, I invited my family to come downstairs. The gift was here. As we removed the wrapping, anticipation changed to shock then joyous surprise. We heard, “Hi, Mom!” and our eyes saw our son sitting in front of us—instead of 5,000 miles away as we had assumed. The reality—what we “knew” to be true—had been completely obliterated. Our son was not an ocean away; he was home!
Matthew closed his Gospel with the account of two women who had watched Jesus suffer and die. It had been difficult to accept this harsh reality, but that was their reality. It was in that frame of mind that they went to the tomb and experienced their own joyous surprise.