As we open our hearts at Christmas to the anticipation of celebrating the birth of our Savior, the familiar rituals and traditions of the season bring us comfort. Through these remembrances we once again discover the joyful music, the special recipes, the fragrant smells, and the excitement of giving! But all too often we fill the moments with so much that we don't leave room for the Savior.
Panera Bread Company has a new slogan to go with its MyPanera card: Rewarding You In Unexpected Ways! Each time I see it I am reminded of Christmas and the unexpected ways that God reached out to a broken, dark world. God sent Holy Light into our darkness, just as He had promised; yet, no one really expected that Jesus would come as a baby. The shepherds in the field the night of Jesus' birth found themselves surprised by the unexpected angels and their announcement. In time, even His own disciples thought Jesus would become an earthly ruler. They did not expect Him to be crucified and were equally awed by His resurrection. It was in God's unexpected ways that salvation entered the world bringing Light and Hope.
God's unexpected ways continue today. Scripture reminds that God's ways are not our ways. How often we plan and decide, order and prepare ~ expect God to intervene in a particular way! How often are we surprised by the actual outcomes? How often are we perplexed by the unexpected ways of God? The one thing that is always sure ~ the Holy One will always respond and provide for all our needs.
Oswald Chambers writes: Always be in a state of expectancy, and see that you leave room for God to come in as He likes. In this season that celebrates the unexpected ways of God, let us be open to His ways. Prepare Him room to come into your moments as He likes.
Merry Christmas and Happy Unexpected God-Ways in 2011! ~ dho
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