Pastor’s Paragraph for December 15, 2019

Pastor's Paragraph for December 15, 2019

DECEMBER 15, 2019


With a mix of humor and perplexity, my wife has often told the tale of her father’s erratic behavior on the night before the first day of buck season. With a smile, she would talk of his “prancing,” as she calls it, as he made nervous preparations for the following morning’s hunt. Apparently, he had some kind of loosely defined ritual that included oiling his gun, putting out his hunting clothes, sharpening his hunting knife, waterproofing his boots, and packing a lunch and copious snacks to be munched on while sitting half-frozen on a stump known affectionately as “my deer stand” and waiting for “the big one” to wander by close enough to be bagged.

My father-in-law was afflicted with acute anticipation, and I am sure that on the night before the first day of deer season in Pennsylvania, acute anticipation reaches pandemic proportions. A few hunters come out of the woods happy. I suspect a great many more come home on the first day tired, cold and disappointed.

On a more cosmic, and dangerous, scale pandemic acute anticipation gripped Judea in the time of John the Baptizer. People yearned for and very much expected a cataclysmic in-breaking of God. They looked for the coming of the Messiah. A few found the fulfillment of their expectation in an itinerant rabbi from Nazareth who was preaching and teaching the reign of God. I suspect many others went home hugely disappointed.

What is your anticipation in the Advent season built on? What are you yearning for and expecting? Is your heart open to being surprised or could you be setting yourself up for disappointment? I never saw my father-in-law come home disappointed. His frantic preparations were always about the hunt, and not the kill. God’s gifts are often counter-intuitive and surprising. Often they come as part of the journey, and not in the arrival.


Rev. Dr. Brand Eaton

Pastor of Visitation