The Day after Christmas….What stirred within you?
For me, a bit of confusion. I wrote and posted The Spigot like normal, yet it did not send. The error message indicated that my RSS feed failed. This was unexpected. After spending hours and resources on technological support, the problem was finally resolved tonight. Whew! Nonetheless, only God knew that I would encounter this kind of unexpected situation on the day after Christmas 🤪. Now, back to The Spigot I wrote for December 26.
For Mary and Joseph, the day after Jesus’ birth involved learning to feed, clean, and care for their new child. Life was messy, stinky, and exhausting. (Luke 2:4-7) Although Jesus would one day make a way for the world to live in relationship with God, on this day, the day after His birth, life for Mary and Joseph likely meant struggle, anxiety, unknown guests, and an unexpected future.
Unexpected – Unanticipated. Not regarded as likely to happen. Without Notice. Sudden.
An unexpected angel arrived to greet, declare, explain, and encourage a young Jewish girl named Mary. (Luke 1:26-38)
Joseph, a faithful Jewish boy, received unexpected news of the holy Child within his betrothed one’s womb. (Matthew 1:19-25)
A heavenly host unexpectedly shone before shepherds in the field, inviting them to be the first to welcome Jesus. (Luke 2:8-15)
Magi saw an unexpected star which led them to the home of a young boy prophesied to be King. (Matthew 2:1-12)
Although expected and planned for by God, for the world, the unexpected surrounded the birth and beginning of Jesus life. Born in smelly conditions, surrounded by animals instead of nurses, Jesus entered the world. He encountered the unexpected, entered the messiness of humanity, and expressed the extravagant love of God. The hope of the world rested in the unexpected life of a baby.
Maybe the day after Christmas leaves you feeling exhausted, overdrawn, overweight, or relieved? Perhaps you wonder about the coming year? Or, perchance you desire change, growth, and newness? In whatever state you find yourself, consider the hope sent by God wrapped in a vulnerable, dependent baby boy. Hope of eternity with God nestled in the body of a child – an unexpected remedy to the brokenness of humankind.
God moves within the unexpected.
Reflect on the unexpected hope surrounding your Christmas experience. Look for God on the move in your midst. Perhaps – – a meaningful conversation, laughter, reconciled relationship, financial provision, safe travel, playful times, tasty meals, naps, a thoughtful gift, etc.
Let us thank The God of All Hope for the unexpected. Pray with me…
God, thank you for the unexpected, for those encounters and experiences that were planned by you for me. Let me see Your lovingkindness.
Through unexpected strife, exhaustion, illness, loss, and loneliness you extend Your presence and peace. Thank you for being with me in what feels heavy and hard. I lift my eyes to you, O Lord, to lead me through what I did not anticipate or even desire. God, meet me in the challenges connected with the unexpected in life. I receive your healing presence. Thank you for tending to the wounded parts of my being. Reframe my understanding of what feels unplanned, to see with your eyes and heart so that Your hope and joy rests within my soul.
Thank you for the unexpected moments of connection, reconciliation, provision, and rest. I receive these as gifts of grace from Your hand. Thank you for pouring these unexpected graces into my life. Thank you for being with me in what feels life-giving and light. Strengthen me, O God, to trust Your care of me and those around me.
You, dear Lord, are in the midst of what seems unexpected. I notice the comfort this reality brings my soul. You were with Mary and Joseph as labor pains rattled Mary’s body. You were with the shepherds as they received Your generous invitation to meet Jesus. You were with the Magi as they meaningfully celebrated the King of the Jews and worshipped Him with unexpected gifts.
God, let me witness you in the midst of the unexpected. I want to act upon your invitations, honor you with what I celebrate, and praise you with the way I live. I welcome you into what is unforeseen by me, yet known by You. Thank you for both the heavy and light unexpected moments in life as they extend opportunities for me to live vulnerable and dependent upon you.
Thank you that you are The God of All Hope. I trust you to fill me with Your hope and joy in the unexpected as I live with you.
I love you, O Lord,
Amen, May it be so.
Look for The God of All Hope in the unexpected and receive His joy and peace as you trust in His ways today. (Romans 15:13)
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Drips from the Word: Muse about these Bible verses. Let these truths impact your living.
Matthew 1:19-21 – Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
Luke 2:13-18 – Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
Splashes from the Spigot: Drink from deep wells. Read these recommended books to fill your soul.
Philip Yancey. Finding God in Unexpected Places. Colorado Springs, CO. 2008.
Abigail Folk. Unexpected: God Really Does Have the Best Plans. Bloomington, IN. 2019.
Sprinklings of Truth: Soak in meaningful songs. Check out these music videos to lift up your spirit.
Long Hollow Wave. Unexpected. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-zaAkGaBcY
Chris Tomlin. come Thou Long Expected Jesus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fAGE1Es8IPs
Puddles for Prayer: Thank you for praying for upcoming travel and speaking engagements.
January 12 – Breathe Retreat – Littleton, CO
February 21-March 4 – Australia with Gary, on behalf of GTP
March – Lviv, Ukraine – teaching course on soul care at Ukraine Baptist Theological Seminary