Embrace the Unexpected

Read: Luke 1:5-25

But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years. (v. 7)

The Christmas story abounds with unexpected happenings. Think about it. Zechariah and Elizabeth didn’t expect to become parents at their age. The shepherds didn’t expect an entourage of angels to appear in the sky. King Herod didn’t expect his reign to be challenged by an infant. The wise men didn’t expect to find the King of the Jews in a cobwebby manger in Bethlehem. And Mary certainly didn’t expect to become pregnant: “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” (Luke 1:34). The Christmas story is one surprise after another.

Where should we be looking for God in this season of Advent? We tend to look for God in the familiar places—candlelight worship, beloved hymns, quiet times of prayer. But given Luke’s birth narrative, aren’t we equally likely to experience God’s presence where we’d least expect to find it?

Look for God’s grace in failure and disappointment. Look for God’s leading in setback and sorrow. Don’t neglect to look for God’s grace in the unexpected, even the unwelcome. God has a way of showing up in the most unexpected places: “And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger” (Luke 2:7). —Lou Lotz

Today’s Activity: Reflect on the unexpected events God is using to write your story. Write down one of these and thank God for using it for your good.

About the Author

Rev. Lou Lotz is a recently retired Reformed Church pastor. Lou and his wife Mary Jean live in Hudsonville, Michigan.

This entry is part 7 of 26 in the series Waiting with Joy