Breaking Into the Ordinary

December 22nd, 2011

We thank you for sharing in EMU’s 2011 Advent devotion series. We end our series today with a reflection from the EMU campus pastor.

By Brian Burkholder, EMU Campus Pastor

Brian Martin Burkholder, EMU Campus Pastor

Brian Martin Burkholder, EMU Campus Pastor

Scripture: Luke 2:1-19

Most of us trudge through the ordinary of our lives. Although we complain about it from time to time, we like routine, we find comfort in predictability, we value being oriented to our surroundings. There’s nothing wrong with this. In fact, one could say it’s normal (as normal as normal can be).

In Luke 2:1-19, the shepherds were simply going about their lives. Ordinary for them was living in the fields keeping watch over their flock. This is what they did day and night, night and day. There was no doubt a level of comfort in it for them – amidst the drudgery. But imagine the shock factor when an angel of the Lord broke through this ordinary existence and stood among them! The text says the Shepherds were terrified and I believe it.

What is it that breaks through our ordinary?

Thankfully the angel offered the shepherds an explanation of the coming of a Savior, the Messiah Christ, the Lord (this might have shocked them as well) – and, after also hearing from a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, their curiosity got the best of them. Ordinary was a thing of the past – at least for now.

I fear sometimes that I’ve become so complacent in living the ordinary that I’m blind to that which has potential to break in. My focus is more on the tasks at hand than on expectantly watching and listening – expecting a message from the Divine to shine forth. It’s true that the shepherds were not expecting a Divine appointment on that night. That said, when the angel appeared, the shepherds didn’t miss or dismiss it. They took notice and took action!

Perhaps God’s messages to us are not so bold? Or could it be that we’re just that preoccupied with the ordinary of life to take notice?

I want to live life expecting to hear from God. I want to be on watch for angels of the Lord. I want to receive Divine messages from the music of heavenly hosts. Perhaps it’s as simple as orienting ourselves to expect such things? Such is the advent journey.