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Lillian Daniel: Do You Like Surprises?

December 17, 2014

And Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 
for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed . . ." - Luke 1:47-55 

I've always hated the question, "Do you like surprises?" People ask you that when they have something they are debating telling you. They hold some piece of information about your life and they want you to tell them whether or not they should tell you. How can you answer such a question? It's the worst kind of pregnant pause.

Do I like surprises? It depends. Are there airline tickets to Paris sitting in my mailbox, or is a piano about to fall on my head? Is Publisher's Clearinghouse ringing my doorbell, or a trio of dark-suited, long-winded members of a proselytizing religion? 

Yet when you ask a child if they like surprises, they will usually say "Yes!" Then, of course, they will beg you to tell them, without ceasing, just what the surprise is, until you relent. And then they will sob, "But why did you tell me? Now it's not going to be a surprise!"

Children who are loved and protected still seem to have the sense that surprises are fun. To their hopeful hearts, the unexpected surprise around the corner is more likely to be a new pony than a trip to the dentist. 

It is the process of life, and perhaps braces, that causes that subtle shift within us, to the point where surprises frighten us and we long instead for something we call "security." 

When Mary found out she was pregnant with the Son of God, she responded to the surprise with joy and delight. There was no security in the news she was receiving, but she took it into her heart as joy. 

God, you are my rock and my security. So when life's surprises come my way, help me to receive them joyfully. Amen.

From UCC's StillSpeaking Devotionals. Visit


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