Several years ago, my husband was deployed to Afghanistan. His expected return was end of December, early January. Since the Army was notorious for throwing things at us last minute, I was not comfortable with traveling too far (aka the 24 hour drive to my hometown), just in case I got that call saying, “Hey your soldier will be returning in less than 24 hours.” Sometimes life happens that way.
I also knew I didn’t want to stay home, with just myself and our daughter. So, I hatched the bright idea of going away to the mountains for Christmas. I pitched it to our daughter and she was all in. I rented a condo, planned to leave the morning of Christmas Eve, get there in a couple of hours, spend all night and the next day in the mountains, and return the day after Christmas.
Our whole little neighborhood cul-de-sac had soldiers deployed. So it dawned on me to invite one of my neighbors and her son to come with us. Our kids were young and about the same age. We took a few presents for each child to open on Christmas morning and otherwise planned to enjoy some sights and attractions in the tourist town we would be staying in.
The getaway was wonderful and we all had a great time. The morning of our return home, we took our time, ate a big breakfast, and loaded up to hit the road. As we set out, another neighbor called me on my cell phone. She informed me that my accompanying friend’s husband had returned early from Afghanistan to surprise his wife for Christmas!
So no more lollygagging! Gulp!
I tried to remain calm and not speed. Hoped and prayed the kids would not need to stop to use the bathroom or anything.. and made a beeline for home! He surprised her all right! I felt terrible that I had unknowingly ruined his surprise.
Sometimes life happens that way. We do things with the best of intentions that have unintended consequences. But I know that she and their son were no less surprised or any less loved. So it is with our Heavenly Father. Our worst and best intentions are not a surprise to Him. The unintended consequences do not change His love for us.
Check out our Facebook page for our daily Advent verses. It is a wonderful way to start each day celebrating the coming of our Lord and Savior.