Every day in Advent 2016 we will be sharing short reflections from authors, Christian charities and Eden team members.
After much deliberation, I have concluded that it’s best to expect the unexpected. I’m not sure if it’s just me but things rarely seem to go exactly to plan at Christmas, which is a challenge for this recovering control freak. I can spend hours merrily planning away with spread sheets, lists, and emails galore and then it’s WHAM! straight into a traffic jam or a last minute catastrophe or some lurgy that strikes the family down. It’s always ‘Goodbye carefully crafted plans’ and ‘Hello creative chaos’. Every year. No exceptions.
The truth is, we all approach Christmas with certain expectations – cards from friends, dodgy gifts from family members, the ubiquitous nativity play (with comedy gold moments) and atmospheric candle-lit carol services. But let’s not forget that at its heart, Christmas is a bit of a beautifully holy mess. The joy of Christmas is not simply eating chocolate oranges as one of your five a day, but rather an opportunity to recall and celebrate a series of great but extremely unexpected events. A Saviour in a manger? No way! Lowly shepherds at the front of the queue? Surely not! A young teenage unmarried mother as a conduit for God’s grace and restoration? You really have to be kidding. Shocking isn’t it?
So, if we are expecting nothing more than the same old consumer driven routine this advent, perhaps we have failed to fully capture the wonder of what really happened all those years ago. In fact, if we go about any day of the year expecting nothing apart from what is average or normal, we could be missing out on a host of unexpected blessings. God still has a fabulous habit of surprising us with divine interruptions, diverting us into unforeseen places of grace. The question is whether we see them as such or whether we just feel the irritation of knowing our plans have been knocked off course.
Perhaps this advent the inevitable disruptions to our plans could prompt us to remember that Jesus was never found where people thought he would be. He was born into a messy place and died a criminal’s death – a far cry from the sanitised, glowing picture with added glitter we share on our cards each year. And today, he is still so often found in the unexpected places – in an encouraging conversation with a stranger, in a moment of outrageous generosity or in the welcome of spontaneous hospitality.
So, this year, let’s collectively loosen our grip on the diary, look past what we think ought to happen and instead, let’s plan for a season of surprises where we prepare our hearts for the unexpected. More than that, let’s also ask that God would use us to wonderfully disrupt the day of those we meet with the same love that he so unexpectedly and undeservedly shared with us.
Here’s to a season of great unexpectations!
Seaker, Writer, Consultant, Wife and Mum; Cathy Madavan has written for Liberti Magazine and CWR's Cover-to-Cover series. She has also been a speaker at Spring Harvest and the Free Range Chicks conference. Her first book Digging for Diamonds explores the life-changing truths that god has placed in us all, and how to uncover them.
December 3rd, 2016 - Posted & Written by The Editor