Advent 2016

There might be a problem with my expectations.

The words in Genesis catch my attention.

When Lamech had lived 182 years, he fathered a son and called his name Noah, saying, “Out of the ground <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-135J" data-link="(J)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>that the Lord has cursed, this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the painful toil of our hands.”–Genesis 5:28-29

The words Lamech spoke over the baby Noah are expectant. His vision for his son clear. He expected Noah to bring relief from the constant work. A direct consequence of sin entering the world.

And I wonder…

Did he watch his son grow expecting these words to become reality? How did he think it would happen? Was there some vision in his mind about the way relief would come?

Though the scriptures don’t point to it, I’m thinking Noah building an ark in the middle of a desert and packing all the animals on board was beyond Lamech’s imagination. I’m guessing the death of all living things was not what he would have called relief.

That’s the problem with expectation. It limits my thinking and recognition of God in the world. Because God doesn’t usually go with my great plan or vision.

My husband sits at the computer and proclaims, “I think I’m doing this wrong. From now on I won’t make a plan, I’ll just deal with each thing as it comes. My blood pressure will be much better this way.”  I google the scripture in Proverbs and watch as he reads.

He reads and I’m reminded. This Advent thing, the expectation of the season, was and never will be my plan. God born in a stable is way beyond my imagination…far from some plan I could have conjured up in my dreams. 
We gather to practice, the group I’m blessed to sing with there in the empty sanctuary. We sing the words and tears well. I’ve been here so many times before that I can actually see it.  Candles casting light on a sea of smiling faces. Voices becoming one as we sing…

Go ahead. Whisper the words or sing it out loud. 
Because all the wrappings and trappings of these last few moments in Advent might not be what I expect. There will be last minute gifts to buy and mishaps along the way. I’ll forget something…I know I will.
In it all God directs steps like my piano playing friend directing singers. And once again I’ll find myself kneeling before the altar of a manger basking in the dawn of His redeeming grace and singing…
Silent night…holy night…all is calm…all is bright.

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