Great Unexpextations (Advent thoughts)

This week I was perusing some of the items in our community pantry at Oaklawn church of God when I came across this!


This is a Christmas stocking that I made when I was a kid - probably 5 or 6 years old - when we lived in Louisiana.  For many years this stocking found itself full of small toys, Hershey's kisses, apples & oranges, and Nerf footballs (yes, a Nerf football every year)!  How it wound up this week in our church community pantry, in Hot Springs, AR, is one of life's great mysteries for sure.  But what an unexpected surprise trip to my childhood!  Unexpectedly coming across this hideously beautiful work of art brought me great joy!

Recently we experienced a death in our household - the fridge.  Getting the repairmen scheduled, and getting them to show up when scheduled was quite the ordeal (I'm trying really hard to NOT make this blog an anti-commercial for Sears).  After a week of no fridge, and a lot of "rescheduled" appointments, we were informed that the fridge was unrepairable.  This was 2 days before my wife's scheduled surgery on her gall bladder, and 3 days before we were supposed to drive to Louisiana for Thanksgiving with the family.  Honestly, we were tired; too tired to even think about how & when to replace the fridge.  We left for the week, planning to figure it out when we got back.  On the drive home, my mind started wrestling with the fridge issue.  How do we pay for it?  I had a few bucks put away for our 3 boys Christmas - and to be honest, replacing the fridge would have taken all of that money plus some.  Arriving home, and still not having it figured out, I walked into our kitchen to find a brand new shiny fridge with a note that read, "From Your Church Family.  We Love You All So Much!"

WOW!  What an unexpected gift of love that moved me to great joy... and unexpected tears.

We're all busy, aren't we?  We expect to be rushed.  We expect to be frustrated.  We expect to be stressed.  I'm trying something different during this season of Advent: Making Room for the Unexpected.

I've been reading the story of Jesus' birth, as I do every year at this time.  Today, I'm impressed that Jesus wasn't at all what was expected.  For a long time (centuries even) a group of people had been crying out to God in prayer for deliverance... for a Deliverer... for Messiah.  What arrived was a baby.  I know about babies, trust me.  Feeding, bathing, crying, pooping babies... not what was expected when the people prayed for a Savior.  Jesus didn't necessarily come to change circumstances, but to be with us through our whatever.  He is the answer to your prayers and mine, and He delivers in unexpected ways all the time!

Where are you clamoring for a change in circumstances in your life?

During Advent, may you anticipate the arrival of Jesus Messiah in the middle of your whatever... and may you be moved to great joy by making room for even great unexpectations!

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