What did you expect…Unexpected promises kept.

IMG_2192When I was a kid I remember all sorts of catalogs of toys especially this time of year.  We would often get the big toys r us book around Christmas and circle all the things we wanted to get.  We were so excited when it came.  We probably circled 200 items in the whole catalog. It probably would have been easier if we had just crossed off the things we didn’t want.

What I found most amazing was often when I got that one toy I so wanted for Christmas sometimes it didn’t work out the way I tought it would.  Maybe it wasn’t as big as I had hoped or it didn’t look as shiny up close.  We all have expectations and sometimes those expectations aren’t realized because they aren’t the right expectation.

This week as I was preparing for Chapel I was reading the text from Luke 2:1-7. It is the simple story of Jesus birth.  What jumped out at me was this story is not something that people expected.  At least most Jews didn’t expect it to go down this way.  Here is some of the unexpected that maybe you just ran over on your way to finishing the text.

He was born in the city of David Bethlehem.  First of all the city of David in the old testament would have been Jerusalem.  His City was Jerusalem.  To hear him being born in Bethlehem was shocking. This was a tiny little back woods town of maybe 200-300 people.    This is crazy the king of kings born in such a place.

Or how about the wrapped in clothes a lying in a manger.  Ok this takes some explaining. How come no castle? How come not a palace, and beautiful bed?  Well he was placed in the feeding area for the animals in the small one room house.  Such a humble beginning for the prince of peace.

Wow unexpected for the king of the universe yet it is how He came.  It is how God fulfilled His promise.  It is how God is working in the lives us his people.  God will fulfill his promises.  He fills them in unexpected ways but he always fulfills his promises.

Jesus makes two other promises at the end of his life.  He promises to be with us to the ends of the age and He promises to come again.  Does God being with us always make sense or always look the way we want it. Probably not.  But we have a God who fulfills his promises yesterday today and always.

 

Joy and laughter

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Last night my family sat down to dinner together. We started sharing stories of our day.  It was one of those good times at dinner.  We can be loud and, well, fairly weird.  At one point it got so loud my wife made the kids raise their hands to tell a story or joke.  She was going around the table pointing at each kid in turn.  I had an idea for a funny. I find the unexpected moment or joke brings levity and joy to a situation. So I looked her straight in the eyes and rose my hand.   She gave me that look of what are you doing and she lost it in laughter.  It was a good moment.

Often in life we forget the joys of simple laughter.  We get so busy with life, its challenges, it tragities, its struggles.  I will be honest. I have the issue of being someone who tries to make everything funny.  My go to mechanism for dealing with life is laughter.  I love to laugh.  I love to bring people joy through a smile or laughter. I am surprised by the humor God can provide when we allow the unexpected.

So this week, in a world filled with tragedy, find time to laugh. Find time to see the joy in the world.  Find time to laugh with loved ones.  Find time to have someone point you to the greatest joy in the world.  Look for the unexpected way God can bring you humor. Find time to hear about Jesus.  Find time to look to the cross where you can see the joy of the world sacrificed for you.

 Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” Psalm 126:4 NIV