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Advent, Day 3

This Sunday, Casey read 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11, which reminds us that “the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.”  It reminded me of a story by Jillian Dunham from The New York Times in August of 2014. 

Here is an excerpt of her story, “The Unexpected 3 a.m. guests.”

 I was certain that the barely intelligible click that woke me one night 11 years ago was the sound of the storm door of my childhood home being opened. Quietly, gently. The dog knew it, too; she immediately stood up on the bed and growled.  I slipped out of bed and down the staircase. Through the small octagonal window next to the front door, I saw two men standing awkwardly in the dark. They didn’t knock on the door or ring the bell. They just stood there, grainy and indistinct, like figures on a closed-circuit television.

Before going to bed that evening, I had turned off the porch light, so I couldn’t see their faces. I went into the kitchen and grabbed the phone, then returned to stand next to the door silently. I did not call the police. The two men did not move. I hesitated, and then flipped on the light. They were young, squinting, swaying a bit in jeans and long-sleeved shirts. There was something helpless about them, their refusal to react. They stared straight at the door, as if waiting for instructions. I didn’t really know what to do. I certainly didn’t know what I was doing when I opened the door to two strange men standing on the porch at 3 in the morning.

 “Are you all right?” I asked.

They looked at me, blinking, dumbfounded. I remember the eyes of the man on the right twitching. His hands were pulled behind his back. As I followed the direction of his arms, something caught my eye, dangling between his knees: a crowbar. “Are you O.K.?” I asked them again, even though I had already seen the crowbar.

 That night on the porch, after I asked again if they needed help, the faces of the two strangers softened. The man on the right nervously shifted the crowbar in his hands, as if taking it back. They said the name of a nearby small city and nothing else. I gave them directions. They thanked us, bowing their heads slightly, and headed back to their car. Before he got in, the driver opened the back door, and I watched as he tossed the crowbar onto the seat.

 While I hope none of us find unexpected guests at our door this Advent season, or any other season, there is a reminder each Advent of the unexpected, perhaps even uninvited nature of God.  1 Thessalonians says, “When they say, ‘there is peace and security,’ then sudden destruction will come upon them…But you, beloved, are not in darkness, for that day to surprise you like a thief; for you are all children of the night.” 

 Perhaps the transformation of God destroys our notions of what security looks like or a peaceful life might be, but as children of the light, we can trust that what God has in mind is better than anything else we can imagine.  


Posted by Laurie Weicher at 7:00 AM
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