Growing up in a Christian home, Advent was always something that we celebrated. Every Sunday, my church would light our Advent candles, read a passage of scripture, and go along waiting for the Savior to be born.
Since coming to Seminary, and if I’m honest, since about last Sunday, Advent has taken a bit of a different identity for me. My pastor said something off-handedly during our Celebration of Advent service at church.
“Since Advent is a time of learning to accept the unexpected…” or something along those lines.
It made me stop and think…
Accepting the unexpected is not something I ever enjoy. I don’t want to hear that devastating news that my beloved grandparent has passed away. I don’t want to find out that I won’t be offered the internship, job, scholarship, or anything else that might make me feel worthy of something, anything. I don’t want to hear that another earthquake has devastated another part of this beloved world. I don’t want to hear that the test results came back positive and the prognosis isn’t good. All of these unexpected things throw a wrench in my plans of living a good, happy, and long life filled with love and void of sorrow.
As Fall quarter comes to a close, I reflect on my ever-present tendency to get complacent in my life. Each quarter, I learn to expect that which has come before and will come again – finals, that seem to drag on for what seems like eternity; exhaustion that feels like an oppressive weight on my chest;, grades, that I somehow let determine my worth; Christmas, that brings joy and love and Jesus as a baby.
But the thing is, Jesus wasn’t expected. He was a surprise that changed the entire existence of humanity. He was light, life, love, hope, joy. May we learn a lesson from Mary and Joseph and the Shepherds and Wise Men who accepted the unexpected, and be comforted by the fact that God is with us, even in the most unexpected of moments.
I often fail to see the beauty in this season of the unexpected.