Well surprise, surprise, surprise!
Whenever I read the Christmas story from the Gospel According to Luke I think of Gomer Pyle from the old Andy Griffith show saying, “Surprise, surprise, surprise!
How is God experienced?
What is the God of Christmas like?
Surprise, surprise, surprise!
The God of Christmas is a surprise to a cynical, cranky and worn out world.
Every encounter, every episode in the story we can hear the characters thinking, “Who me?” as they become the center of God being revealed to the world.
And at every encounter where God is revealed, we can hear everyone else saying, “Why them?”
Oh, my.
Just this morning we heard the Angel Gabriel telling Mary the strangest things ever.
And now here they are displaced by the government in a borrowed cubby and food trough for a bed.
And then there are shepherds and the angelic host being told the strangest things in the dark of night way out on the edge of things. Glory and singing and good news, go and see, go and tell the news.
“Who me?”
“Why them?”
Surprises abound.
The strangest things are happenings, and it’s all out there on the edge of things, happening to the most forgettable and unimportant people. Suddenly they are the center of all Creation. They are the heart of God being revealed.
Clearly, things are not as we thought they were.
This God of Christmas is found out on the edge of things, where people are vulnerable to the random cruelty of history, to people who are hard to count, hard to notice.
What was on the margins has become the heart of things.
Those who thought they were in the middle of things have lost their place and they don’t even know it. We are embarrassed for them. They thought they were the life of the party, but now they are at the wrong party.
The God of Christmas surprises is a jolly old elf having a good laugh at our antics and hubris.
Who me?
Why them?
Surprise, surprise, surprise!
The surprising present of the baby Jesus is peace, joy and singing.
That is what we learn from this story where we hear the strangest things.
So what do we do with this surprising Gospel of the God of Christmas?
Find peace and joy in this unlikely Savior and his unconventional salvation. Sing about it. Find the song in life.
Keep an eye out for the edge of things for those who are shoved around and forgotten, God is found there. They are where salvation enters into the world.
Discover God’s holy laughter at the surprise of it all.
And don’t be too surprised if you find yourself in the middle of God being revealed to all Creation.
Oh my.