Thursday, 9 December 2021
Title: An Unexpected Joy
Pr Mark Tan
In JRR Tolkien’s book “The Hobbit”, the first chapter is titled “An Unexpected Party”. It introduced Bilbo Baggins, the protagonist who has made a comfortable life for himself by doing what is expected of him: never having any adventures and doing nothing suspicious. This changes when one night, 12 dwarves and a wizard came and had a party at his house. They ate all his food, sang songs, told stories and talked about an adventure they were about to have, to which which Bilbo was invited. Truly everything that night was unexpected. But, what came out of that party was an adventure where Bilbo had to choose to either continue to live the life he’s expected to live or to adventure into the unexpected. He decided for the adventure, and by the end of the book he came back, a person changed, for the better.
In today’s Scripture reading, we see Joseph doing what is expected of a young man: find a woman and marry her. He did, but the twist was that Mary was later pregnant, and she claimed that it was God who made her pregnant! Even at that moment, Joseph was about to do what is expected in a situation like this: divorce the woman, but quietly as he wouldn’t want to have her hurt. That is, until something unexpected happened to him. An angel of the Lord spoke to him, revealing that the baby Mary was carrying is truly Jesus the Messiah and that he should continue to take Mary as his wife. Joseph had a choice to make: either do the expected and accepted practice of divorcing an unfaithful wife, or do the unexpected and continue to marry, care, and love his wife and child who was not his, but God’s. Thankfully, he chose the unexpected. From there he gets the joy to witness “his son” reveal Himself to be the “Son of God”, Messiah, Saviour and Risen Lord!
The Christian faith is a faith of the unexpected. Christmas is all about the unexpected. The King of Kings was born in a manger instead of a palace. God came as a new-born baby instead of Himself. The Saviour was born to be a gift instead of being given gifts.
We then should also embrace the unexpected, and adventure on by faith and not by sight. Only when we do this can we experience the true joy of Christmas.
- What would you do at the crossroads of faith versus fear?
- To whom could you share the unexpected joy of Christmas this year?
- What can you do this Christmas that would be totally unexpected of you, in the spirit of Christmas?
Stir up Your power, O Lord, and come among us with Your great might. Because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let Your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with You and the Holy Spirit, be honour and glory, now and forever. Amen.