Advent | Week 4 | Friday
Friendship on Fridays
Intrusions to our carefully crafted plans can be annoying. To plan one’s morning, set on accomplishing a number of tasks before settling in to do what we really want, and then to have those plans interrupted by an unsuspecting event or person can easily derail us. But intrusions can equally be life-giving.
Part of the Christmas story as recorded by Luke in his Gospel involved an intrusion. Call it a divine intrusion. On an ordinary evening in the back fields of Bethlehem, a number of shepherds were going about their business. Perhaps they were even napping. Suddenly, a heavenly host interrupted the darkness of a quiet, starry night. The passion of heaven was exploding into the earthly realm, heaven unable to contain its excitement. This angelic choir’s joy was matched however, by the shepherds’ terror. An unexpected intrusion can do just that: terrify us because it is unsettling, leaving us no longer in control, and uncertain what will be required of us. Because we live in a fallen world, such significant intrusions can even feel unsafe. But as the joy of heaven spilled into our world, the announced news was good, better than good. It would be life-altering, starting with these ordinary men doing ordinary work.
As I think back across the landscape of my life, divine intrusions, while often initially troubling and confusing, perhaps even frustrating, have in fact been life-giving. Sometimes these interruptions come from the unexpected words of a friend; at other times, they appear in the form of suffering. We may even receive news that deeply discourages us, altering our sensible plans, whether short-term or long-range. But God is in the business of intruding into our lives to announce the good news of the Gospel–over and over again. And His intrusions it seems are ultimately designed to move us off our smaller stories to get a glimpse of His larger story in which we are being invited to participate.
Perhaps during this Advent season, we could consider and give thanks for those past intrusions, and then pray for an openness to how God might want to break into our worlds going forward. Peace to you.