Jesus was a conflictive personality. He made people angry, angry enough to think his death was a good idea. A quiet, pietistic Jesus will not do.
~Bernard Brandon Scott


An Advent Prayer – Expectations

O God, Christmas is right around the corner,
and we are full of expectations.
What will happen in worship?
Will my prayer get answered?
What will happen at such-and-such party?
What will we get so-and-so for Christmas?
What will WE get for Christmas?
Will the answer to these questions meet our expectations?

O Lord, in centuries past,
people were expecting a messiah,
and there were expectations
about what that messiah would be like.
Is it interesting that Jesus did not fit these expectations?

God, as our story in Luke goes,
he was born to parents who were peasants.
He was born in a stable and laid in a manger.
There must have been the smells
of hay, animal dander, and even manure there.
Was that a place fit for a king?
The lowest of low – shepherds – were his first visitors.

He didn’t come starting a revolution,
but brought good news to the poor.
He proclaimed release of captives and
recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free.
He preached the year of your favor, O God, to the least of these.
He did not amass a great army
but gathered together a rag-tag group of twelve
and some women to support them.
He didn’t come catering to the rich and famous
but to the poor, disenfranchised, and sick
all the while calling on the rich and famous to take care of them, too.
And yet, many of us call this one
who did not meet expectations, “Messiah.”

As we prepare ourselves for the coming of Christ at Christmas, O Lord,
help us to consider what this might mean for our expectations.
Let us not forget that in the story of creation,
You didn’t say everything was perfect, only, “Very good.”



The above prayer is a response to the great discussion we had at the 2nd Session of the 2011 Advent Study,
Christmas is Not Your Birthday,
inspired by the book of the same name.

This prayer was prayed at First United Methodist Church in Wichita Falls on Sunday, December 11, 2011.

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