Advent One: Expecting unexpected joy

Keep awake, be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.  Matthew 24. 42, 26

This past August,  I was in Oregon for my grandson’s third birthday.

By the time we’re three, we are really, really excited about our birthdays and the gifts and the cakes and the party.  My grandson was no exception.

The morning of his birthday, and of his party day, too, he and his mom made birthday cupcakes.

I was looking at the photos of their cupcake baking, and was struck by how very, very present my grandson was in the task of making cupcakes. He wasn’t focused on the birthday party or the presents or even eating the cupcakes later that day. He was completely engrossed in each step of the cake baking as if all he had to do in the world was to bake cupcakes with his mom.


There is probably no other time in the year than in these days before Christmas when we have more distractions–certainly at least as many as a three year old on his birthday.  During Advent we have an opportunity to reframe those distractions and to approach them, live them, from a place of being fully present for the unexpected joy that God loves to pour down on each of us.  Of having nothing more important in our lives than finding God in the present ordinary moment.

It’s being like a three year old making birthday cupcakes.  Not eyes focused on the seemingly bigger events later in the day (or the week or the month), but on whatever moment God has placed in our lives at the very present time.  When we do, when we are, we will sooner or later be surprised by joy.

And we might even get to lick the bowl.

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