“Just like the promised Messiah didn’t come in the way most people expected, so God’s promises often come in ways other than what we expect. Just like Jesus didn’t look or sound like most people’s idea of a Messiah, so God’s answers often look and sound different from what we thought they should be. But God always has a higher and better purpose and mind and He alway, always, always gives His children the very best!”
I didn’t put quotes around that last paragraph because I like to quote myself, which would be as awkward as liking your own social media posts, but because I wanted to distinguish what I wrote 10 years ago from what is current.
God’s promises remain true. Even when they don’t look or sound or feel like we expect. Especially in a year where nothing went as expected.
For certain, God’s arrival didn’t look anything remotely close to what people expected.
They expected pomp and circumstance; instead, they got swaddling clothes and a manger.
They expected royalty; instead, they got poverty.
They expected a majestic King; instead, they got a helpless infant.
They expected heralds announcing the news to all the elite; instead, they got smelly shepherds telling whoever they could find that the Messiah had come.
They expected a conquering hero who was to deliver them from Rome; instead, they got a suffering servant who was a man of sorrows acquainted with grief who was to deliver them from sin and shame.
The good news in this season of thwarted expectations is that the promises of God are still yes and amen. They are still true. And this Emmanuel, God with us? He’s still with us — yesterday, today, and forever.