Thursday, 20 December 2018

Something's Coming

The run up to Christmas always carries with it a sense of anticipation. Something is coming. Christmas is coming. It can’t be dodged or avoided, and we need to be ready. When we were children, the anticipation of Christmas was exciting - there were parties and presents to look forward to, and there was nothing required of us but to contain our excitement. In adult life, the coming of Christmas is more complex. While we long for the innocent excitement of our childhood, we are all too aware that things need to be organised, presents need to be bought, cards need to be sent - the responsibility falls on us to be ready.
This sense of anticipation surrounds Christmas in other ways too. The traditional season of Advent focuses on the expectation of Jesus’ return as well as the expectation of his birth. Centuries before Jesus’ intriguing birth, prophets were telling their people that something was coming, God was hatching a plan and was about to do something significant.
There are numerous Old Testament expressions of this expectation, and in the centuries that followed there were countless theories about what exactly this ’something’ was which God was bringing about. Ancient Jews studied their scriptures and tried to predict God’s coming. With the same enthusiastic confidence many Christians today study the references to Jesus’ return. And try to work out what to expect.
However, when God did come - when he did do his thing - it wasn’t anything like what people were expecting. No-one was expecting a newborn child, lying in the manger of an ordinary home. No-one was expecting a bunch of shepherds and a handful of foreign mystics to be the first on the scene.
The adult Jesus reminds us that God still has more plan up his sleeve. There is another something which is coming - which we need to be ready for. But he advises us not to waste time speculating what that something will be like. God is the master fo the unexpected. We will know it when we see it, but it won’t be anything like anything we have imagined. We just have to be ready.

Just published:
by Robert Harrison
the life and loves of a disciple of Jesus

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