It is amazing how much joy is packed into that single world. It takes us back to birthday parties, unexpected gifts and the smile of a friend we haven’t seen in ages. Surprise. In our pursuit of joy, there is rarely anything as powerful and potent as a single surprise.
Surely, some surprises are planned. Others, perhaps most, are unexpected. I wonder how often we pass by surprises.
At Sojourn, we are gearing up for a study of the gospel of Matthew. Now, if you were to decide that you were going to start reading the Bible and turned to the first gospel, it would be hard for you to get past the first chapter. But, the first few chapters of Matthew’s gospel, with the genealogy angelic messengers, the appearance of the Magi and the tirade of a tyrant, all provoke surprise. Surprise is woven into the fabric of the seemingly mundane details of God with us.
The scandals, poverty, suffering and weakness that frame Matthew’s proclamation of the coming kingdom of God seem ill-fitted for a fame-obsessed world. In a hype-driven culture, most of us will look right past the baby born in poverty, the messenger in rags and warrior who wears the uniform of the lowest slave.
I wonder how many other surprises we miss every day? This fall, I encourage you to unplug and engage in the mundane moments. Enjoy the breeze. Gaze at the colors. Gather around the bonfire, and be open to good gifts that we neglected in our consumer crazed culture. You might find that there is more joy to be found in the present than you thought possible.
By Trent Chambers, contributing writer and pastor at Sojourn Community Church.