I approach Advent, the season of approaching incarnation, with questions of expectations and the unexpected. I'm thinking of the Gospel of Luke's description of the unexpected pregnancies of Mary and her kin Elizabeth. Elizabeth, barren and post-menopausal, "old" as the book reads, becomes unexpectedly pregnant. Mary, a teen aged girl, a virgin, also unexpectedly finds herself pregnant. How these unexpected events must have changed their expectations for life.
How unexpected for us to approach an encounter with one in whom the divine should come to us, as a human reality and experience? Who would expect the Spirit of God to be fully realized, incarnate, to us in human form, in the person of Jesus, who as today's reading from Ephesians describes as being "the fullness of him who fills all in all"?
How unexpected is it then that the same God incarnate in Jesus would also fill us "all in all"? How does this change our expectations for ourselves and each other? How does this change the expectations of who it is we search out in each other?
As we approach Advent, the final readings of the year for the Daily Office has the Gospel of Luke telling us about Jesus nearing his death in Jerusalem. The disciples have been told over and over by Jesus that he will soon die on the cross. Yet, the disciples will view Jesus' death as unexpected. They will later view Jesus's resurrection as unexpected joy from the sorrows of his death.
Jesus, the Unexpected!
Jesus, his life, death and resurrection are all things unexpected. His teachings, condemning the religious and embracing sinners, rejecting power and wealth for the company of the vulnerable and poor, all, in the common thinking of the world, are all unexpected of Priest, Messiah and God, and are all leading us to different expectations of God's judgement as being of compassionate forgiving, where we rather expect condemnation in the way we condemn each other.
This season of approachment I will hope to change my expectations and seek out God's love in the unexpected people and places hidden behind the daily and ordinary of my life.
God grant me the unexpected grace of eyes to see, with expectation in all, you who fills us all in all.