On the Sunday night after Thanksgiving, I drove home from the Hanging of the Green service at my church, basking in the warmth of the simple joy of hearing the children sing and greeting friends. My Advent Season was off to a wonderful start.
It was dark and I decided to take the backroads home instead of the busy interstate, full of folks returning from their Thanksgiving visits. My maintenance required light had come up on my red Prius and I was thinking about my upcoming week —when would be the best day to get my car serviced, what meetings were on my agenda, what else needed to get done?
Suddenly an apparition of a deer appeared in front of me — only it was not a spirit, but a very solid doe that I slammed into and ran over before my brain could register what had happened.
I pulled over to a gas station and breathed. I was shaken up and my car was smashed in on the left front, but I was not hurt and was able to drive home. Thank the Lord for that, even though I hate it for the poor deer.
The next morning I picked up Max Lucado’s Because of Bethlehem, a book God led me to at the local McKay’s Used Bookstore. I have been reading it for my Advent devotional and this popped up on the page that Monday morning:
“Christmas is a season of interruptions. Some we enjoy. Some we don’t.”Lucado, Because of Christmas, p. 35
Ha! Who says God doesn’t have a sense of humor?
My season was certainly interrupted. I had not planned to spend my week on the phone with insurance agents, body shop owners, tow truck drivers, and rental car employees. But as Lucado says, interruptions come with Christmas and with life.
Mary did not expect the interruption that came into her life when she found out she was pregnant, yet God prevailed, Lucado reminds us. He goes on to say:
“Through a scandalous pregnancy, an imposed census, an untimely trip and the overcrowded inn, God triumphed in Mary’s story.”Lucado, p. 40
I’m not sure I’m at triumph yet, but despite the inconveniences, God has been teaching me during this time of interruption about gratitude and patience.
I’m so grateful that I came out of the wreck unscathed and that no other cars were around. When the tow truck driver looked under the crumpled hood and said that my battery was crushed, I was amazed and thankful that I had made it home and not gotten stranded on the side of the road or that the car had not caught on fire.
I’ve been thankful that Keith didn’t get mad (I sometimes drive too fast, but this was not my fault!) and that friends have been concerned and checked on me and the Prius (which is currently in the shop awaiting a life-or-death diagnosis.)
The wheels of insurance turn slowly, so I have had to learn patience. God showed me that I needed a week to slow down. I enjoyed being home with Keith while we worked out the details of getting a rental car. I put up the Christmas tree and have savored my morning coffee in the warmth of its lights, reading and praying. I needed time to organize, a task I tend to skip over.
I don’t think God prompted that deer to hurtle across the road at the exact moment I was driving home, but He has used the interruption to point me toward Him. Advent is about waiting for the Christ child, and I am experiencing that anticipation in a deeper, richer way this year.
I want to keep that reminder the next time my plans get waylaid.