December 7th reminds me of “Surprise.”
For some, December 7th is “a day that will live in infamy.” (Pearl Harbor Day) …A day our nation was caught by surprise…
…But for me – on that day, in 1975 – my world opened up…
I didn’t know it then, when I was 15 – but Advent (coming) is all about the coming of Christ…
As a Cradle-Episcopalian – I’d been baptized, confirmed and taken to church nearly every Sunday – yet somehow, on that weekend, I finally heard the Good News... for the first time…
Before going on that Youth Retreat, somewhere in Michigan, I’d heard some of my friends talk about Cathy Matthews – a college girl who was “amazing,” and who was going to share her faith with us… My cynical teen-age mind was curious, so I went – somewhat wondering - but mostly determined to make it ‘fun’ and not let things get ‘too churchy…’
Needless to say, on that Retreat 42 years ago today, Jesus surprised me.
How will I ever forget the warm feeling of us circled around the fireplace, singing those Christian folk songs with guitar; the different kind of real sharing with my friends, and those college students who were so grounded & in love with Jesus… In their stories and even in the way they shone – I could tell something was really different about them… They had found an inner-treasure – the one thing that mattered…
Even as I went on that retreat – determined to remain unaffected – there was no denying the curious workings of the Holy Spirit in my heart. By the end of the weekend, with joy and tears, I found myself walking on the beach and suddenly scrawling the huge letters in the sand - declaring my discovery: Jesus loves me!
No - I didn’t know it at the time – …but Jesus had come to me (even me) in Advent.
I wonder how Jesus has been born in you?
For all of us I pray the always-coming-to-us Christ will surprise us this Season in ways we never imagined…
“Lord, catch us off guard today. Surprise us with some moment of beauty or pain so that for at least a moment we may be startled into seeing that you are here in all your splendor, always and everywhere, barely hidden beneath, beyond, within the life we breathe.”
~ Frederick Buechner, The Hungering Dark
Daily Reading: John 1:6-9
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. 8 He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. 9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
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