Expect the unexpected? Is that not a contradiction? Well read on….
At the end of the 19th century, the idea that human beings would be able to fly seemed beyond many people’s imagination – totally unexpected! Yet the Wright brothers (and possibly Gustave Whitehead before them?) proved otherwise.
Whilst some saw the possibilities, many at the start of the 1960s still could not believe that someone could land on the moon. But in 1969 the unexpected happened (and no, this is not the place for discussing conspiracy theories that it did not take place!!)
People all across the world linked by computers – many people did not see that coming before the mid 1990s – unexpected!
So what of Christmas and the account about the birth of Jesus Christ? That happened (if it happened, you might say), a long time ago and also you might add; so what, even if it did happen?
We know the stories of the angels, the shepherds, the three(?) wise men and Jesus born in a manger. Perhaps it seems all too familiar or a touching scene or two for children to act out at school. But does it make any difference now in the 21st century?
I want to suggest that if we will come with openness, that may be just may be; we will encounter the unexpected this Christmas time?
Are we open?
God did not stay remote from mankind. Christ became one of us. Ultimately he laid his life down and took on himself all the wrongdoing of humanity that we might be able to be forgiven and made right with God and our fellow human beings.
It is quite something to seek to comprehend – that is though he was God, he was also fully human. An ancient writer called Isaiah predicted his coming and one title he gave was Emmanuel – meaning God with us. As written elsewhere, “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighbourhood” (John 1:14, The Message).
Throughout December at ICL on Sundays we will be exploring together the stories about Christ afresh.
We begin in Luke 1 (why not read it?). Two unexpected shocks for two different women. Two sons to be born, neither expected. One for a older woman who had not been able to have children and one for a young woman who had not slept with anyone!
This is the stuff of the unexpected surrounding the coming of Christ stepping into the realities of human life.
As we approach the end of 2015, for many people there is much anxiety due to realities such as terrorist attacks, refugee issues, war in Syria and Iraq and troubles elsewhere like in Burundi.
Does the reality of Christ becoming human have anything to speak into this? Is there hope amid the anguish? How is it all relevant to the turmoil we see in different circumstances right now? If Isaiah was right and the predicted Messiah is the Prince of Peace, what does that mean for our world now? Is it possible to know His peace (wholeness) amid life’s circumstances?
The Christmas story gives a resounding yes. Yet that is easy to write I know and it needs more to be said in explanation. But for now I encourage us to consider the following:
- If you believe in praying, ask the Lord to show you how to pray about the events you see in the news. Let’s include praying for all those who are mourning the loss of loved ones due to events around the world and for all those displaced by conflict.
- Whether we believe in God or not, will we be open to helping out others in need practically this Christmas time?
- What can we do to seek to understand more where others are coming from who do not share our same views on life?
- For us all,whether a Christian or not; will we be open to Christ and the unexpected from Him happening in our lives?
Expect the unexpected this Christmas!