And just like that, a new holiday quickly approaches.
It feels like just the other day we were sitting around enjoying turkey and stuffing. Now, houses illuminate the streets at night with their multi-colored lights hanging from the roof and giant holiday inflatables on the front lawn.
The Christmas season is definitely here. And it looks lot different than the years before.
If I can be honest, Christmas this year seems a little darker and more difficult to handle this year. Knowing that I won’t be able to visit my family in California for Christmas is a hard pill to swallow. I would’ve thought that somehow, someway, there would be a handle on this pandemic. I prayed that there would be no more lock downs, “stay-at-home” orders, or an increase in illness. We would be able to celebrate and be close to the ones we love again.
Apparently, that’s not the case. I didn’t expect things to continue to go in this direction. Then again, I don’t think anyone else did either. The unexpected kept happening this year redefining our holiday celebrations and our lives.
Seems to be the central theme of 2020.
Yet, in the dark backdrop of what looks like a gloomy holiday season, I see a bright light, a warm spark of hope in all of this. I take much comfort that God isn’t surprised by this. In fact, He’s no stranger to the unexpected.
God In The Unexpected
In the Advent story, I’m pretty sure that before Mary gave birth to Jesus, she had her plans and expectations of how her life was going to go. Oh, did her plans come to a screeching halt when Gabriel, the angel of The Lord told her that she was going to planning for a baby shower before planning her bridal shower.
Or, I can imagine how Joseph didn’t expect to get to still get the green light from God to wed Mary after finding out she was having a child that biologically didn’t come from him.
Talk about the unexpected! But, here’s what I found that almost made me shout with Joy.
In the midst of the unexpected, Mary and Joseph were to call the son that was soon to arrive, Immanuel, meaning “God With Us”.
Jesus’ birth would bring so much joy and peace that all of Heaven and Earth would rejoice even in the middle of what looks like detoured mess.
Though my heart is a little heavy this season, this truth gives me joy. God is with me in this difficult seasons. If God was with Mary and Joseph in the unexpected, how much more can He be with us? God was with them before our Savior’s arrival, during, and after. He shows us that in the dark uncertainty, the unexpected sets up the stage for God to display His glory.
I can’t say that I know what to expect this season and for the rest of this year. But if God is with us in the unexpected, I can trust that things will some how turn out all right. Maybe, just maybe, this might be the year where God’s Presence will brilliantly outshine any other presents exchanged this year in every household around the world. This may be the year where others faith in Him will be restored after having it years of being torn due to so much loss.
Embracing The Unexpected
I get it. The holidays in 2020 weren’t supposed to be this way. Or…maybe it was. The point is, the unexpected hit us and where it hurt. While it was surprise to us, it wasn’t to God. He sees and knows. He’s with us through it all.
This Christmas season has a new definition of what it’s really about. The unexpected doesn’t have to show up only on Christmas. It can show up at any time. Like Mary, before getting her divine baby news, we can learn to embrace the unexpected. And though we may not understand and experience pain along the way, we can trust that God has a greater purpose in mind.
God’s miracle can be found in the unexpected and He’s always with us.