Follow Christ, Lead the Way
 Advent: A Season of Expecting Unexpectedness image

by Amber Ginter, Senior, English Major

“While Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem, the time came for her to have the baby.  She gave birth to her first son. She wrapped him up well and laid him in a box where cattle are fed. She put him there because the guest room was full.” (Luke 2:5-7, ERV).

In Luke chapter two, the prophecy of the Messiah described in Micah 5:2-5 is fulfilled.  Here, though Luke is primarily concerned with the oppressed and how Jesus is going to help them, Bethlehem becomes a pivotal location for an unexpected baby lying in a less than expected stable.

Anticipating the coming of something or someone that was prophesied to transform the world radically, you could say that the people of Israel were less than thrilled when the waiting that had now come to an end, fulfilled less than what their hearts were hoping.  After all, waiting isn’t a pleasant thing for us, now is it? 

We want our Christmas presents, and we want them now, we want our chocolate-chip cookies with milk for Santa, and we anticipate him at this very moment, we want the best bargains at shopping malls, and we chase people down to fulfill these temporary desires.  But what if part of the true meaning of Advent meant something more?  What if in the waiting, we too, like the people of Israel missed the most significant entrance of the greatest being in history because we were too concerned with expecting what He would look like and when we wanted Him to arrive?

Eagerly waiting for redemption, the people of Israel craved to be saved, and they desired it right then.  After waiting, waiting, and waiting some more, they longed for the Messiah King to show up and destroy Rome.  But when a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a smelly manger shows up instead, they are unable to accept Him, for He did not look like what they wanted Him to.  And in the danger of this, we too, today can fall into this trap of not realizing that He hasn’t just come but is coming back again, and we are expecting this second coming.

As Christians, we are waiting in anticipation for Jesus to come, but while we are waiting, let us not forget to be actively involved in the now, and press on in hope amidst the feelings that make us want to give up.  In fact, waiting again, I must note is not easy, and more often than not, it is the least desirable thing that we want to do.  Our hope shows up as lackluster as the fruitcake under the tree, and the twelfth pair of fuzzy socks that we don’t need, so in our minuteness, we miss the blessing.

In the redemption of Israel, the people were too busy constructing their own views of what Jesus would look like rather than appreciating His arrival of love, hope, joy, and peace that had finally come; that is, they didn’t honor the treasure they were given because they failed to recognize it until it was too late.  Unable to see the beauty behind a smelly stable, shredded cloths, and a quiet baby lying in the manger, this season don’t make the same mistake. 

“Advent is the season of already here, but not yet come.  We know that something better is coming, but we must anticipate that which is coming as we wait in hope,” reflects Rev. Aaron Duvall, Director of Spiritual Formation.  The best is yet to come in those unexpected packages- even those of the awaited Advent period that are often expected in their unexpectedness.  

 

To read another article about Advent and the Christmas season click here

Articles of Interest

Dr. Caleb Friedeman Publishes Major Reference Work

Published: April 1, 2021

Ohio Christian University is pleased to announce that Dr. Caleb Friedeman, David A. Case Chair of Theology and Ministry and Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies, has published A Scripture Index to Rabbinic Literature(ASIRL) with Hendrickson Academic. This volume is a comprehensive Scripture index to classical rabbinic literature in English that contains approximately 90,000 entries and represents over 2,500 hours of work by a seven-person team over the course of two and a half years. In addition to the work of the editorial team, a group of OCU staff and students assisted in
Ohio Christian University is pleased to announce that Dr. Caleb Friedeman, David A. Case Chair of Theology and Ministry and Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies, has published A Scripture Index to Rabbinic Literature(ASIRL) with Hendrickson Academic. This volume is a comprehensive Scripture index to classical rabbinic literature in English that contains approximately 90,000 entries and
Ohio Christian University is pleased to announce that Dr. Caleb Friedeman, David A. Case Chair of Theology and Ministry and Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies, has published A Scripture Index
Students Serve Alongside WGM in Uganda image

Students Serve Alongside WGM in Uganda

Students Serve Alongside WGM in Uganda image

Published: October 16, 2019

At the end of May, a team from Ohio Christian University traveled to Uganda to serve alongside World Gospel Mission missionaries already working in the area. This trip would best be described as a vision trip rather than the typical mission work some may think of. The team got to see many different ministries the missionaries are working with as well as support them through fellowship and prayer. During the two weeks the team was abroad, they worked with a wide range of ministries, one of which is known as the Dignity project, providing women and girls with reusable feminine products
At the end of May, a team from Ohio Christian University traveled to Uganda to serve alongside World Gospel Mission missionaries already working in the area. This trip would best be described as a vision trip rather than the typical mission work some may think of. The team got to see many different ministries the missionaries are working with as well as support them through fellowship and
At the end of May, a team from Ohio Christian University traveled to Uganda to serve alongside World Gospel Mission missionaries already working in the area. This trip would best be described as a
Gerald Murphy Encourages Revival image

Gerald Murphy Encourages Revival

Gerald Murphy Encourages Revival image

Published: October 16, 2019

Gerald Murphy (’13) had one goal in mind for the campus of Ohio Christian University as he spoke during Fall 2019 Revival Week, and that was to have an encounter with Christ. Murphy, a graduate of Ohio Christian, encouraged students to let go of their former selves and take on their new identity as sons and daughters of God. In order to take on this new identity, Murphy said that one must first stop self-identifying as a sinner saved by grace. “If you continue to call yourself a sinner,” he said, “you’re going to keep acting like one.” Next, one must stop relying on their own actions
Gerald Murphy (’13) had one goal in mind for the campus of Ohio Christian University as he spoke during Fall 2019 Revival Week, and that was to have an encounter with Christ. Murphy, a graduate of Ohio Christian, encouraged students to let go of their former selves and take on their new identity as sons and daughters of God. In order to take on this new identity, Murphy said that one must
Gerald Murphy (’13) had one goal in mind for the campus of Ohio Christian University as he spoke during Fall 2019 Revival Week, and that was to have an encounter with Christ. Murphy, a graduate of
Ohio Christian Hosts Youth Explosion image

Ohio Christian Hosts Youth Explosion

Ohio Christian Hosts Youth Explosion image

Published: July 29, 2019

Ohio Christian University was happy to host the Youth Explosion camp on July 25 through 28. The camp was organized by the Marion Christian Center’s Youth Ministry. The event was meant to provide the opportunity to experience God in a real and impactful way. “This year, the theme is that God made them special and how to discover their gifts and talents to glorify Him” said Marion Christian Center Lead Pastor Perry Payne. Each day of camp kicked off with a student led devotional going over the Beatitudes of Jesus followed by real life breakout sessions. After lunch, students
Ohio Christian University was happy to host the Youth Explosion camp on July 25 through 28. The camp was organized by the Marion Christian Center’s Youth Ministry. The event was meant to provide the opportunity to experience God in a real and impactful way. “This year, the theme is that God made them special and how to discover their gifts and talents to glorify Him” said Marion Christian
Ohio Christian University was happy to host the Youth Explosion camp on July 25 through 28. The camp was organized by the Marion Christian Center’s Youth Ministry. The event was meant to provide

Archived Articles of Interest

David and friend at African mission site.

Mentor Leaders' Rev. David Whetstone Speaks during OCU Mission Week

David and friend at African mission site.

Published: October 23, 2017

Rev. David Whetstone, founder of Mentor Leaders, is a featured speaker during OCU’s Missions Week, October 23-26, on the university's main Circleville campus. Mentor Leaders, based in Nolensville, TN, is a non­profit organization using community-based efforts to bring aid, restoration, and sustainability to global neighborhoods. Mission Week presentations are being held in OCU's Detty Chapel.   Mentor Leaders has teams in Togo and Haiti who are providing emergency aid, restoration—supported by education, financial investment, and relational development—, and sustainability training
Rev. David Whetstone, founder of Mentor Leaders, is a featured speaker during OCU’s Missions Week, October 23-26, on the university's main Circleville campus. Mentor Leaders, based in Nolensville, TN, is a non­profit organization using community-based efforts to bring aid, restoration, and sustainability to global neighborhoods. Mission Week presentations are being held in OCU's Detty 
Rev. David Whetstone, founder of Mentor Leaders, is a featured speaker during OCU’s Missions Week, October 23-26, on the university's main Circleville campus. Mentor Leaders, based in Nolensville
Tyler Forney Leading SOS Project

Student Profile: Tyler Forney Is Learning Service over Self

Tyler Forney Leading SOS Project

Published: August 27, 2019

Building safer houses, constructing new roofs, and laboring in Tennessee’s hot summer sun isn’t routine for OCU Junior Tyler Forney. What is routine is witnessing about Jesus, having a heart for Youth Ministry, and placing others' needs above his for the glory of God. Choosing to spend his summer with Service Over Self (SOS) in Memphis, Tyler, along with 40 other young adults, spread the Good News to middle and high school students and learned to be an SOS team leader. An avid OCU community member, Tyler appears happy-go-lucky, working for SAC, serving as a hall chaplain, and walking
Building safer houses, constructing new roofs, and laboring in Tennessee’s hot summer sun isn’t routine for OCU Junior Tyler Forney. What is routine is witnessing about Jesus, having a heart for Youth Ministry, and placing others' needs above his for the glory of God. Choosing to spend his summer with Service Over Self (SOS) in Memphis, Tyler, along with 40 other young adults, spread the
Building safer houses, constructing new roofs, and laboring in Tennessee’s hot summer sun isn’t routine for OCU Junior Tyler Forney. What is routine is witnessing about Jesus, having a heart for
Rev. David Dean, Graduate

Graduate Profile: Rev. David Dean

Rev. David Dean, Graduate

Published: August 27, 2019

Upon graduation in Theology from Ohio Christian University, David Dean entered Olivet Nazarene University’s Church Management program and earned his Master's degree. Since then David has been an evangelist in many churches, camps, and colleges, as well as a servant in mission fields for 25 years. Since 2015, Rev. Dean is serving as OCU’s Director of Church Relations and Executive Director of the Toler Leadership Institutes. He is also the appointed Chairman of the Commission on Evangelism and Discipleship for Churches of Christ in Christian Union. Previously, David was Senior Pastor
Upon graduation in Theology from Ohio Christian University, David Dean entered Olivet Nazarene University’s Church Management program and earned his Master's degree. Since then David has been an evangelist in many churches, camps, and colleges, as well as a servant in mission fields for 25 years. Since 2015, Rev. Dean is serving as OCU’s Director of Church Relations and Executive Director
Upon graduation in Theology from Ohio Christian University, David Dean entered Olivet Nazarene University’s Church Management program and earned his Master's degree. Since then David has been an
Students serve with World Gospel Mission in Argentina

Students serve with World Gospel Mission in Argentina

Students serve with World Gospel Mission in Argentina

Published: May 16, 2016

Ohio Christian University students had the opportunity to minister abroad in Argentina during Spring Break 2016. Professor Jamey Gremillion, OCU’s Intercultural Ministries Director, led the team of six, which included Liliana Burgos, Ben Caplan, Andrew DeMint and Lindsey Lawler, along with Jammie Wilhelm, who serves as an AGS Director and Professor. The team had the privilege of remodeling a kitchen for an elderly woman who feeds nearly 60 neighborhood children every weekday. In two days, the team removed the old cabinets, storage area and counter-tops, replacing them with a custom-
Ohio Christian University students had the opportunity to minister abroad in Argentina during Spring Break 2016. Professor Jamey Gremillion, OCU’s Intercultural Ministries Director, led the team of six, which included Liliana Burgos, Ben Caplan, Andrew DeMint and Lindsey Lawler, along with Jammie Wilhelm, who serves as an AGS Director and Professor. The team had the privilege of remodeling a
Ohio Christian University students had the opportunity to minister abroad in Argentina during Spring Break 2016. Professor Jamey Gremillion, OCU’s Intercultural Ministries Director, led the team of
OCU WGM Argentina Task Force Team 2016 image

OCU WGM Argentina Task Force Team 2016

OCU WGM Argentina Task Force Team 2016 image

Published: May 13, 2016

On February 5, 2015, a WGM Missionary couple serving in Argentina came to OCU’s Global Café and shared their vision for reaching young adults. Due to the sensitive nature of their work, we will not use their names. Their ministry was so exciting to our students and Professor Gremillion that they returned to OCU on the following Monday and Tuesday to speak in a few select classes. This couple has discovered a unique way to implement a program similar to what has been called Community Health Evangelism (CHE) at WGM. This type of outreach seeks to meet the felt needs of non-believers in
On February 5, 2015, a WGM Missionary couple serving in Argentina came to OCU’s Global Café and shared their vision for reaching young adults. Due to the sensitive nature of their work, we will not use their names. Their ministry was so exciting to our students and Professor Gremillion that they returned to OCU on the following Monday and Tuesday to speak in a few select classes. This
On February 5, 2015, a WGM Missionary couple serving in Argentina came to OCU’s Global Café and shared their vision for reaching young adults. Due to the sensitive nature of their work, we will not