Starting with the first day of Advent, my car becomes an all Christmas carol zone. I noticed something this year that has struck me (that is, I probably noticed it before but it didn’t stick with me): there are a lot of carols that talk about snow at Christmas!
Why does this strike me? Because over one-half of the planet NEVER sees snow at Christmas! And yet, up where I live, we talk about snow and Christmas as if one without the other is unthinkable… white Christmases are the stuff of dreams, Santa and a sleigh, jingle bells!
Which got me thinking about how it is that we often only see life from our own perspective. We get trained to see things from where we sit and the longer we look from that perspective only, the harder it gets to see from a different place. We get a certain mindset — you know, our mind is set!
It usually takes something pretty surprising to jump us out of our ingrained perspective. Perhaps like a trip to the Southern hemisphere — where Christmas happens in the midst of summer!
We’ll never comprehend all the great things God does; his miracle-surprises can’t be counted. Somehow, though he moves right in front of me, I don’t see him; quietly but surely he’s active, and I miss it.Job 9:10-11
So, maybe God came to earth so long ago to surprise us out of our mindset. That we had been doing things the same way for so long, looking at life the same way for so long, that our minds were set a particular way. And the way that God was going to get us to see things differently was arriving as a baby and proclaiming a reign of peace.
But, of course, we don’t often accept the change that surprises give. We are pretty stubborn — and sometimes just unable — about having our minds changed. We work pretty hard to defend our mindset, instead of being open to how it is that God might be wanting us to see things differently.
I hope that this advent season — in fact the whole of your life — is filled with surprises that jolt your mindset. I pray that you are open to being surprised: that maybe Christmas in the midst of summer would be something quite stunning and that Santa in Bermuda shorts has something to say to us. That God-who-is-with-us is all about surprise — and they are definitely worth seeing.