Not what we expected
“Wow…that’s not what I expected.” There have been many times in my travels when I have at least THOUGHT those words. I was excited to see the famous Stonehenge…and surprised at how underwhelming I found it. Not what I expected. When Cyndi and I traveled to Austria, she could not WAIT to see the church in which Maria and Captain Von Trapp were married. (I was more “meh,” unsurprisingly.) Cyndi remembered Maria’s LONG walk down the aisle. But when we arrived at Mondsee Cathedral, she was astounded at how small the church was. The whole thing had been accomplished with special effects and camera angles. Not what she expected.
We are about to lower the curtain on 2020…a year about which we could assuredly say, “THAT was not what we expected. Not at all.” In some ways, though, 2020 is a fitting introduction to Advent and Christmas. Because if EVER it could be said of something so enthusiastically anticipated, “That’s not what we expected,” it would be the coming of the Messiah, Jesus. A famous Christmas Advent carol calls out, “Come, thou long-expected Jesus.” But I assure you…on that holy night, no one got what they expected.
Advent is always intended to be a time of anticipation for the coming of Jesus. Four weeks during which to prepare ourselves to receive the Messiah anew, afresh. Maybe…maybe 2020 has been one LONGGGG Advent. Maybe the Lord has given us 10 months to prepare our hearts, to stir our longing, to whet our appetites for the arrival of our savior. God knows, we need saving. And God knows, the savior has come. But it was not…not at all…what we expected.
Join us Sunday as we being our Advent journey together. And…bring a friend. It won’t be what they expect, either!
P.S.—Just a reminder: beginning next week, online church will be different! We will livestream the Sunday services in real time only. The videos will no longer be available on demand. So, if you want the full-meal deal online, you’ll need to join us at 8:30, 10:00, or 11:30 am Sunday morning. Then on Tuesday evening, we will post a purpose-built online service designed to be more “shareable.” It’s called Chapel Hill Online, and it will contain the same message by the same preacher, but will be about half the length of our ordinary service…perfect for sharing with your unchurched friends. What better Advent gift than to share that service with your friends? A perfect way for us to go “beyond these walls!”