Caught Unaware

A beautiful bush in my back yard is blooming. Yes, it is December and this plant seems undeterred by the normal spring season. To be honest, I almost missed it. I was not looking for flowers in December.

This beautiful white flower in the middle of a leafless East Tennessee just keeps singing in my spirit.

“Are you seeing the unexpected?”

If I had been alert, if I had known, if I had been looking, I would have been expecting the arrival of this unusual plant called a camellia. A quick Google search revealed an October through April blooming season. Here it has been in my yard, but I didn’t take the time to research it. To understand. To expect it.


Forgive the obvious. But this flower is a lot like Jesus. Few were looking for the unusual. Few understood the times and signs. Even fewer were expecting, or willing, to see Him when He was right in front of them.

It’s too easy for us to point fingers at those who missed a baby in a stable thousands of years ago. But are we looking for Him today? Are we seeing Him and understanding what’s available because of Him?

In our fatigue, our fear. In our sickness and brokenness. In the winter of our lives, the leafless and barren season, are we looking for His beauty to bloom in our midst?

God keeps calling me, calling us, to a deeper more of Him. Beyond the counterfeit Christmas to the living Savior. The unexpected, desperately needed, overwhelmingly beautiful Savior.

He calls us because He knows that when He shows up, things change.  I just read in John 15 where Jesus talked about peace. He specifically said, “the peace I give, is not as the world gives.” So why do we look to the world to give us peace? It is a passing, fickle, counterfeit peace.

But Joy to the World! He is a higher source. Look for the unexpected. Let’s not be caught unaware when the majesty of God shows up. He told us thousand of years ago that He was coming. First through Jesus then through the Holy Spirit. Immanuel. God with us.

And He has never left. Look for Him. See Him. Love Him.


It just occurred to me that some may not know how to see Him and love Him.
May I offer an example? It is as simple as the flower.
I felt this “pull” to look over in my yard as I was going to my garage.
I glanced over and saw  a bud. A day later, while I was looking out my window,
there was another “pull” to look in the direction.
Yet another day later, I was bringing in the mail with a few extra minutes to spare,
and sensed that I needed to get a closer look.
When I saw the glorious blossoms, I literally stood there thanking God out loud
for His beauty.  Then for the next two days, the image of the flower kept coming
to my thoughts, randomly.  Like Mary considering Jesus, I pondered the oddity
of something blooming out of season. Unexpected.
As I read the book of John in my Bible, the whole notion of God’s peace looking
very different that what we expect, kept rolling around in my spirit.
Through all this, my heart was — “Teach me God, I am listening.”
And as He revealed more, my heart grew more in love, more in awe of Him.
So my response moved from “thank you” to “I love you back.”
Thank You, Immanuel. We love You. The God who came, to be known.



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