The God of Surprises: Reflection by Dean Sue


In our last blog of the year, Dean Sue reflects on the surprises that occurred in 2021 giving thanks for the surprises we have received in 2021.

I wonder how many of you received gifts on Christmas Day which were a surprise. I did, and at times like Christmas I like surprises because I know people have thought about the gift that they are giving me. I think Christmas, to be Christmas needs surprises. The Christmas and pre-Christmas stories in the Gospels of St Matthew and St Luke are full of surprises.

Just recall for a moment the story of the announcement of John the Baptist’s pending birth. An angel appears to Zachariah and tells him that, despite Elizabeth’s age, they will bear a son and he will be called John. Then we have the announcement of Jesus’ pending birth to Mary, again through the voice of an angel. Another surprise! Then, as we move through the Christmas story, we have the birth of Jesus and the visit of the shepherds. Later we have the visit of the wise men to the infant Jesus. All these visits must have been surprising, if not a little confusing. As the mystery of Christ’s birth unfolds, and as we journey throughout the next year with Christ, there will be many surprises, if we open ourselves to the God of surprises.

Over the past year there have been challenges as we continue to face Covid 19. There have been lockdowns, there have been restrictions, but there have also been good times, probably when we least expected them.

Here are just a few surprises that have happened in 2021. Over 8.47 billion Covid-19 vaccines have been administered globally. Many people and organisations have worked to alleviate food poverty. The United Nations say that the world is on track to achieve ‘sustainable Development Goal 2, Zero Hunger by 2030’ ( The challenges of Global Warming were debated through the United Nations Cop 19 Climate Change Conference by 120 world leaders and over 40,000 registered participants (

In our own lives, and in our own communities, there will have been huge challenges and many times of sadness, but there will also have been many, many surprises. As this year draws to a close, why not spend some time reviewing the past year and lament the times of sadness, but also celebrate the joys.

Our God is a God of surprises, and the Christian life is full of surprises. So let us give thanks for the many surprises in our lives, both good and bad, as the bad surprises often lead to good experiences.

We at the Cathedral will continue, I hope, to be surprised by the God who knows and loves us, and we hope and pray that you will continue to be surprised by that same God who knows and loves you throughout 2022.