December 7, 2016
Seventy-five years ago today the world changed forever. Sadly, each generation seems to contain a defining-moment day such as the attack on Pearl Harbor - the day John F. Kennedy was shot and 9/11 are a couple of examples that come to mind. But December 7, 1941 was certainly “a date that will [and has] live[d] in infamy.”
As I thought about this day seventy-five years ago, it struck me how it generally began as any other day. People were living their lives, going about their ordinary routines. Babies were being born, people were going to school and work, yet they had no idea what was about to happen. I thought of my grandma who told me about her experience that day - “I was washing dishes,” she would say. “And the news came on the radio about what had happened. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.” Suddenly, everything had changed for most everyone.
In this season of Advent, there is a focus on preparation - being ready, staying alert, watching and waiting with expectation and patience for the coming of Jesus. But while we wait, there is much in our world, as we are reminded today, that we cannot foresee, or even imagine happening. So how do we prepare for the unexpected? How can we be ready for what we don’t even know is coming? How do we go about our lives as we wait - with fear and trembling or with trust? How can we keep our focus on the hope and promise of the coming of Jesus while we’re wondering what our world is coming to?
There are certainly no easy answers to these questions. Yet, I am also reminded that "tragic" cannot always be used to characterize the changes that strike in the midst of our ordinary lives. Sometimes the unexpected is a joyful surprise - such as the birth of Jesus. No one really saw that coming either, and yet with his birth the world was truly changed forever - in a most amazing and grace-filled way.