Luke 1:46-47
"And Mary said, 'My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.'"

Advent and Christmas require a lot of planning. To-do lists get longer and more complex from a week before Thanksgiving all the way to Christmas. Expectations run high.

Lots of people I know have been sick with the flu or colds. They get run down and fall ill, but keep going because there isn't time to stop. Even when our bodies tell us to slow down there is no room for interruptions.

For the most part, I don't like interruptions. My schedule fills up with things to do, from the important and the urgent to the mundane and sometimes trivial. Much of it might be considered holy work, but not because I am a pastor but because I am a Christian. Holy simply means set aside for God's purposes which ought to be the case for much of our lives as God's people. From this perspective, our lists might seem even more important. But alas it is still my list of things to do and I want to accomplish all of them and hope no interruption will prevent me from doing so.

I say that as a confession, because interruptions are one of God's preferred modes of encountering and confronting us. The word interruption means, literally, "something that breaks in between." We may experience interruptions as disruptions to our routine, but they might be God's way of breaking in to our lives, even when we get sick, not that God causes disease.

In the Christmas story, it is remarkable how the characters respond to having their lives interrupted. For instance, Mary's plans to marry are interrupted by an angel who tells her that she is about give birth to the Messiah, even though she is little more than a child herself. How does she respond to this interruption of her plans? She sings a song of praise.

The birth this angel proclaims is itself an extraordinary interruption. It is God interrupting God's own routine by coming as a infant, born in a forgotten corner of a vast empire. And when God chooses to come as close to human life as flesh and bone and breath, we can’t look at our own lives in the same way again.

It's not a story we would have come up with ourselves. It's nothing we would have planned. In a way, it's an interruption. But in this last week of Advent, and only week before Christmas, perhaps we have a chance to put our plans aside long enough to greet an interruption as welcome. After all, it could be God breaking in.


God, don't listen to me when I ask not to be interrupted. Break in. Amen