Week 2: How Jesus Writes the Unexpected Into Our Christmas Story

advent week 2

Advent is a time of expectation, a season in which old truths are gently knit into our weary spirit, preparing our hearts to receive Christ and to celebrate the redemption He brings.

Yet within these days of expectation, we uncover stories that were wholly unexpected — others’ stories and our very own.

The centuries long journey to the manger reveals a host of people who, to us, seem wholly unlikely and unprepared — from the most dysfunctional of families to a God-fearing prostitute, from an adulterous and murderous king to a teenage virgin.

The Christmas story is a narrative of surprise, a whole lot of “Hmmm. We didn’t see that coming.”

A holy nation sprang forth from an old man and his barren, manipulative wife.

God delivered an enslaved people who walked on dry land between parted walls of sea. But they didn’t believe he could provide water for them to drink.

These fearful and fickle people — The Lord saved them, provided for them, protected them, and chose to dwell in their midst. And though they turned their backs on Him time and time again, He never did the same in return.

When we read the story with fresh eyes, we’re appalled at their selfishness, their faithlessness, their utter neglect of Him. And just when we think they’re goners, forever and always and good riddance, His relentless love comes for them again. He keeps on forgiving them.

We don’t expect this. It flies in the face of the justice our hearts want for those who never learn, who keep getting it so wrong.

But there’s so much more that we don’t see coming.

We don’t expect a prophet born as a baby to the barren wife of a priest.

We don’t expect a terrifying angel to pay a visit to a scared girl and tell her she’s pregnant with God.

We don’t expect a perfect boy to grow up into a perfect man, a man who loved the unlovely in a way they’d never been loved, with physical touch, compassion, instant forgiveness and healing, only to be falsely accused and discredited.

We don’t expect him to be murdered by his own people, those He came to save. And we surely don’t expect Him to pardon a godless criminal as they die together on adjacent crosses.

We don’t expect a Father to turn his back on his own perfect son. And to the unlikeliest end — to save the same faithless people He’s loved before the foundations of the world, the ones who turn their backs on his glory because his brand of goodness isn’t exactly what they have in mind.

We don’t expect those people to be us.

waterlogue bridal

When I shared my story with a room full of women Thursday night, I began with a story full of expectation. A young married girl who knew exactly how her story should be written. It unfolded as a narrative full of plot twists and the unexpected, a narrative of fracture and grief, of love turned cold and marriage fallen apart.

Expectation dissolved into separation. And separation dissolved into a revised expectation that this would and should all end in epic failure.

But what have we learned about the story of God and his people?

He shows up in ways we don’t expect. He shows up with deliverance, forgiveness, and redemption.

And Jesus is still in the business of loving people in ways they never expected to be loved. He’s still touching them, healing them, having compassion on them, and making Himself real to the unlovely and unlikely.

That’s how He showed up in my own story. It’s how He continues to show up.

Maybe this chapter of your life seems the unlikeliest of places for Him to dwell. Maybe it feels too far gone, too far flung away from the expectations you had.

I’ve got good news. The far-flung places are his hangout. And the far-flung places are actually never too far from his reach.

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:38-39

It’s true and I can speak from experience. When He sets his love upon us, nothing can separate us from it. He’s the Light of the World and He shines his light into the darkest of places —

  • Hearts that are dim and despairing.
  • Families who are too helpless to help themselves.
  • Marriages that have burned out.
  • Nations that think He’s a myth.
  • Scholars who say He’s a crutch.
  • Bodies that are dying too soon.
  • Ends that don’t quite meet and it seems they never will.

 

sunset

There is nothing beyond the power of his redemption. And though He writes stories so very differently than we would usually choose to write them, He writes with a pen that bleeds love instead of mere ink. He writes for our good and for his glory. He writes from a vantage point that we don’t yet have.

Best of all, He writes Himself into our very lives.

In the song, This is How Emptiness Sings, Christa Wells sings this truth so beautifully:

He writes my story into his song, my life for the glory of God.

 

Friends, this is what He’s been doing all along.

In this second week of Advent, will you allow Jesus to defy your expectations? Will you invite Him into your mess? Will you trust his pen with the rewrite and will you behold his glory that unfolds as you do?

He tells us that He is making all things new. That’s present tense. Today. And it’s a promise.

Will you believe Him?

/////

Weekly Advent Series

Week 1: When Your Life Feels Too Messy to Host the Savior of the World

Advent week 1 300

If the stories from Scripture that I mentioned in this post are unfamiliar to you, or if you long to know them in a fresh way, might I suggest this resource?

jpeg

The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones. It’s a book I return to over and over because she writes the story of redemption with such truth and in a way that makes my heart sing. It’s technically for kids but the parents in our house tend to cry every time they read it.

/////

{Don’t want to miss a post? You can subscribe below. And you can unsubscribe anytime you like. Want to leave a comment? Just scroll back up to the top of the post.}

 

*book link is an affiliate

Comments

  1. says

    Lisa I've usually had more than one cat and would be getting more than one, but I'm hoping to move into a new building (with more than one bedroom) and they only allow one pet. The cat rescue I'm going through assess their cats and lists some that must be adopted with a buddy, which should be adopted with a buddy and which would be fine as a solo kitty. My cats have never been aloof and were also social (with just me or with everyone).

  2. says

    Svar ang. det med Ã¥ jobbe i lag: Jeg jobber i lag fordi jeg da kan "fremkalle" bildet først ganske lyst, sÃ¥ ganske mørkt… uten Ã¥ forringe det, ogsÃ¥ "smelter" jeg sammen de to. Minst mulig tukling med bildet og mest mulig rett fra Rawfila, men altsÃ¥ i to forskjellige varianter (en lys og en mørk).

Trackbacks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *