Reflection - November 28, 2016

By Darren McClellan

published 11/28/2016
Dear Friends,
Last night was supposed to be my date night. 

With the grandparents in town, Kristi said we’d be going out together—just the two of us—for a routine dinner and a movie.  It was on the calendar.  It was a part of my plan.  I was looking forward to a nice, predictable evening.  I didn’t even bother to ask where we would eat. Regardless, I was certain the outcome was within my grasp.

We ran a few errands and then I parked at the theater.  Two steps from the car and Kristi says “I haven’t told you everything.”  Huh?  “We’ve got a special dinner planned,” she says, “so I need you to hand me the keys, get back in the car, and put on this blindfold.”  Like a scene out of a Liam Neeson movie, I immediately felt that my otherwise secure soiree had been hijacked by this mysterious beauty.  I wasn’t dressed for anything “special” and I really did want to see that picture.  Not only that, but my birthday isn’t until next month, so I was sure that I would have more time to get prepared for its coming.  Internally, I was proverbially kicking myself for having let my vigilance subside.  Embarrassed by my perception of how the whole thing must have looked, I wondered aloud how Kristi was going to explain this blindfold to the cops as we passed by.  In turn, my beloved bride settled for me reclining in the passenger seat with my jacket overhead. 

At least she didn’t put me in the trunk.

After a disorienting and circuitous route through the darkness, I was helpless.  It was then that she led me by the hand to what was familiar, yet fresh ground.  Once unveiled, it took a moment for the light of reality to come into focus.  There I was, standing in my own front yard.  And there they were, in the flesh—about 30 friends and family members who had descended upon my front porch without warning and whose proclamation rang like the sound of a trumpet: SURPRISE!

Under the frail guise of perpetuity, the permanence of my plan had been coercively commandeered by the communion of saints.  How could this be?  I had sworn to keep watch, but my safeguards were botched, by the one with the light in her eyes.

She promised to love me without compromise a long time ago.  So where does she come up with this?

It was a delight to see such company; a marvelous sight, indeed!  Once revealed, the image quickly seared itself into my memory and humbled me to my figurative knees.  The unexpected had come and I was vanity offended by the date night upended.

Nice job, dear angel.  And thank you, friends, for the tangible reminder of a love that will travel great distances to make its point.  Not bad for the start of the Advent season.

In her work God is With Us, our friend Robin Wilson writes than in order for the power of the Advent season to take hold  of us, “we must be a people who are constantly ready to welcome God into this world…How incredible that our all-powerful God cares enough to give us this reminder to be prepared” (p.19).

In retrospect, I’ll bet Joseph had particular ideas about how his date nights with Mary would go, too.  Once derailed, however, the Gospel says that “he planned to dismiss her quietly” (Mt. 1:19).  Think again, brother.  Compelled by the angel in his midst, he went along for the ride….blindfold and all.  Righteous move, my man.

This is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes (Ps. 118:23).

According to Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “As long as there are people, Christ will walk the earth as your neighbor, as the one through whom God calls you, speaks to you, makes demands of you.  That is the great seriousness and great blessedness of the Advent message.  Christ is standing at the door; he lives in the form of a human being among us.  Do you want to close the door or open it?”

Am I ready for that kind of divine interruption?  Are you ready for an invasion, or does the party get left on the porch?

Listen, I am standing at the door knocking…(Rev. 3:20).

Anybody home?