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I’ve told this story many times, but it bears repeating. Many years ago my then boyfriend took me home to Virginia to meet his family and to see where he grew up. He brought me to a beautiful park, acting rather nervously, and I just knew he was going to propose. I decided that he was going to propose at a lovely gazebo that I saw in the distance and I tried making sure that we got there quickly, despite all his efforts to stop and sit several times. What I didn’t realize was that all those stops along the way were attempts at proposal, and I missed them because I was focused on what I thought should happen. Thankfully, he did not give up and was able to get me to pause for a moment so he could ask me to be his wife and spend my life with him. I felt rather foolish when I realized that I had missed several beautiful and joyous moments (and gorgeous scenery) on the path because, well, gazebo.
This has been a common theme in my life, unfortunately. I am so focused on what I previously imagined and what I think should happen next that I miss out on wonderful moments in the present. It’s hard for God to work in my life sometimes because I am always trying to second guess Him. But God is always doing the unexpected. In the book of Isaiah, He says:
Don’t remember the prior things; don’t ponder ancient history.
Look! I’m doing a new thing;
now it sprouts up; don’t you recognize it?
I’m making a way in the desert, paths in the wilderness.
The Christmas story is all about God doing something new! A different star in the sky? What in the world! God as a human baby? Weird! Born in a manger? Ew! Birth announcement delivered by angels to shepherds? How commonplace! That’s not at all what we were expecting!! In week 3 of Advent, let’s allow ourselves to be surprised by a God who was born among cows and sheep, by Jesus who said the last shall be first and the first shall be last, by the Holy Spirit who still works in our lives in mysterious ways. Don’t miss out on the joy that God is trying to share with you because you are expecting something else. Look! He is doing a new thing.