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Entering into the Unexpected – an Advent Journey

“We’re expecting.” It’s that familiar two-word proclamation about an upcoming birth. The snarky side of me always wants to ask, “Expecting what?” or “Does that include expecting the terrible twos, raging adolescence, and college tuition?” I tend to shush my snarky side and simply live into the joy of the moment. The holiday season tends to bring with it its own sense of “we’re expecting….” We’re expecting joy. We’re expecting fun parties. We’re expecting the formation of great new memories and the continuation of long-held traditions. Maybe we’re expecting that this year will finally be the year that….

….The family get together won’t be fraught with political division;

….We really will get all the shopping and decorating done on time;

….There really will be peace on earth and good will toward all.

I’m not so sure that we should get all excited about expectations at all. What if we were to be open to all the unexpectedness that the Biblical Christmas story holds? The shepherds weren’t expecting the angels. The wise men weren’t expecting to find a king in a stable. And Mary certainly wasn’t expecting to be expecting.

What if we were to go ahead and simply set the stage and then watch and wait and listen? What if we went ahead and did the decorating and baking and wrapping and then simply sat back and wondered what it is that God is at work preparing to “birth” into this world?

As we prepare to step into the first week of Advent, our tradition turns to the Advent wreath and the first candle, often referred to as the Hope Candle. We tell the Biblical stories of our ancestors in faith who had long hoped for a messiah. We rejoice that when Jesus was born, that hope was fulfilled…. But not in the way it was expected.

May we make preparations that remind us that the long, love-filled story of which we are a part, is filled with the unexpected and may that give us hope. It’s a story full of twists and turns and new life in so many unexpected ways.

May your first steps into Advent be blessed with unexpected hope. Rev. Lynne

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