Today’s post comes from Tracy Dickerson. It was first posted on her blog Nacreous Kingdom as Expecting the Unexpected. If you would like a sneak preview of some of the other upcoming posts check out the links on the Advent synchroblog site:
During the Advent season, we are in a state of expectation. We are waiting, longing, and looking forward to the arrival. But how that plays out over the period of a fortnight or so is as individual as it is intriguing.
The word “expecting” is an interesting one. It can be a verb: “I am expecting a package in the mail.” It can also used as a descriptor: “She is expecting.” (Similar to: “She is glowing.”)
When we link the idea of advent and expectation, what immediately comes to mind is how a pregnant Mary must have felt…what she thought…how she dreamed and planned…
We get a glimpse of that when we read her words in Luke 1:46-55~
46 And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
50 His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
52 He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
55 according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”
It is clear from these words, exclaimed in response to the angel Gabriel’s declaration that she would bear the Messiah, that she fully expected the babe in her womb to very literally overthrow the Roman occupiers of Palestine. It is- I suspect- how any one of us would have reacted…what any one of us would have imagined. As we also often do, Mary was “pondering the things of the past” (Isaiah 43:18) and based her reaction on what she already knew of God- a very human response.
But as she watched the babe grow into a young man and a then a full-grown man, her relationship with God and His son matured. As this happened, we can be sure that she developed a more knowledgeable and informed understanding of her son and a broader understanding of the full scope His mission to the entire world. We can see this process clearly developing in the next chapter of Luke, where we see Mary watching her twelve-year-old son ingeniously debate with the learned religious leaders in the temple. Observing his keen spiritual insight and maturity, she “kept all these things in her mind, pondering them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19) It is quite clear that her understanding and expectations of Him were being transformed. Observing what she did in the temple, she could not help but realize that God was preparing Jesus for so much more than what she had originally imagined.
And so it is with us. When we begin our walk with him, we have certain expectations of what Jesus will do, and how he will “show up” in our lives. But as our relationship with Jesus develops with time and intimacy, our expectations of how He “shows up” in our lives begins to expand and transform. We move from mere expectations of salvation, protection, and prosperity (very ‘me-centered’ expectations, if we are honest with ourselves about it) to expectations that are more Christ-centered, more wholistic, more robust.
An important question to ask ourselves (not only during the Advent season, might I add) is this:
“Jesus is Coming: What Do We Expect?”