Wednesday, December 17, 2014

When Advent isn't beauty-full

It's December 17. Eight days until Christmas. I've only purchased a hand full of gifts. Nothing is wrapped. The tree is decorated, but it's in the corner of a living room that looks like a laundry bomb exploded. Our chocolate advent calendars are at least a week behind. I sit here, surrounded by the mess of laundry, mail and life and think, "This is not how I pictured it. This is not how I wanted Advent to look."

A young woman and her betrothed trek to a small town called Bethlehem. His fiancee pregnant with God's own son, I'm sure this wasn't his plan when he proposed marriage to the young girl. In her wildest dreams, I bet she never pictured herself about to give birth, riding a donkey through the night. As they made the journey (without the assistance of the internet to book their room ahead of time!) I'm sure they didn't think they might not find a place to stay, that the stable would be their only choice. And yet it was.

As the searing pains hit and she bore down with a final push to bring a tiny infant into the world, the braying of animals and the smell of hay rising to her senses, I'm sure she never pictured this as the location for the Son of God to make his grand entrance. And yet it was.

Holy Family, Mark Missman

As the shepherds watched over their small herd of sheep that night, the angels appeared and gave them the great news. I'm sure they never considered that they would be the first to hear of the Messiah's coming. And yet they were.
Light of the World, Mark Missman
As the Magi followed the star toward the horizon and onward, I'm sure they never considered that they would actually arrive to find a toddler instead of a wealthy king. And yet they did.

In all these instances, the realities didn't match their expectations. And yet, the Messiah had come anyway. And I wonder how my own expectations might be blinding me to the Messiah's coming here and  now. How many ways have I missed seeing him because my expectations were clouding my view? In a hundred ways, a thousand ways, he reveals himself to those whose expectations are only that: to see him, in whatever way he may come.

At that same time Jesus was filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit, and he said, “O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike. Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way.
“My Father has entrusted everything to me. No one truly knows the Son except the Father, and no one truly knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
Then when they were alone, he turned to the disciples and said, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you have seen. I tell you, many prophets and kings longed to see what you see, but they didn’t see it. And they longed to hear what you hear, but they didn’t hear it.”
Luke 10:21-24