The people of Israel had been waiting a long time. They were expecting God to keep his promise. They were waiting for God to show up. They were expecting a king.
The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is the name by which it will be called: “The Lord is our righteousness.”
On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: Do not fear, O Zion; do not let your hands grow weak. The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing as on a day of festival. - Zephaniah 3:16-17
I’m sure they had it all thought out. God would send a prophet to anoint a new king from the line of David. Then God’s presence would fill the Temple like it had in days of old. Everything would be right. Everything would be like it had been before, back in the golden days, when David himself ruled from the throne. They had high expectations for their nation, their families, their faith, themselves.And then God did something beyond all their expectations. He arrived not in the Temple, but in a manger. He was wrapped not in majesty and glory, but in swaddling cloths. God himself came to be their King. The Lord, their God, was in their midst, and most of them didn’t even realize what was happening. God kept his promises beyond their expectations.God does the same for us today. We get so wrapped up in what we expect from this world, from each other, from our work, from our families, from our church, from God. We think we have it all figured out. We know exactly how it should all work.And then God shows up. He does something new, something we never could have expected. He meets us in the stables and dark nights of our lives. He comes to live with us, right in our midst. And he makes something new of us.This Advent and Christmas, slow down. Ask God what new thing He wants to do in your life. And be ready for Him to do something beyond all your expectations.