Expecting Something Else

By EXW Staff
January 03, 2024

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By Bill Dogterom

How often do we miss what we are looking for because it doesn't look like what we are looking for?

Imagine the arrival of first the shepherds and then
the wise men. Their expectations were set high by signs
in the heavens - songs and stars respectively - only to
arrive and find. . . a baby, a young child. Not
particularly auspicious, not very kingly, looking for all
the world just like any other baby - just like any other
two year old boy. Simple, common parents, as shocked
by their arrival as they were by arriving. Simple, even
humble, surroundings.

The shepherds were undistracted by the trappings of
that first moment. The crowds and noise of a small
town bustling with a population swollen to many times
normal. The small cave behind the house which
formed the birthing room. The smell of labor and
delivery still hanging in the air. The young mother,
weary apprehension shining dully in her eyes as she
glanced quickly between them and her husband. That
good man standing as tall and big as he could to protect
his new son and wife, rugged carpenter's hands
clenching and unclenching. They were, after all,
shepherds. Not the kind of visitors one might expect -
or want.

The wise men can be excused for trying Jerusalem and a
king's palace first. After all, where else should a king
be born? By now the father and mother had stopped
searching the eyes of their son for indications of His
origin. They had stopped their late night talks in bed
about. . . well, you know. They had settled into
familiar routines - as familiar as any routine can be
with a child under the age of two. The boy looked up
with mischievous eyes through the blackness of his
hair and quickly got to his feet to greet such strange
visitors. As he did, they noticed the scrape on his left
knee and the smudge of dirt on his cheek. Not quite
what they were looking for.

To their great credit, neither the shepherds nor the
wise men said, "There must be some mistake!" Instead,
they told their stories and left their gifts, their
treasures - and worshipped. Whatever it was they
were looking for did not blind them to what they
actually saw.

This advent season, let it be so for us.

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