Join Dr. Anna Robbins
as she leads us through her new Advent Bible study.

Spend time every day in personal study and then join the live conversation led by Dr. Robbins five Tuesday mornings, beginning November 17.

INTRODUCTION

About the Book

Have you ever received a large package in the post and opened it with excitement, only to discover that there was yet another box and simply too much packaging for the small and unimpressive item it contained? The big surprise failed to meet your expectations.

‘Not as expected’ often means that the reality turns out to be less exciting than we’d hoped.  Maybe you ordered a cake or bought an item only to be disappointed by its diminutive size and diminished appearance.

However, a ‘not as expected’ experience can sometimes be positive. Maybe you’ve gone to an event, thinking you’d rather be at home in bed with a book. It’s a cold wet evening but you pushed yourself to go, and it ended up being one of the best nights of your life! You expected something dull and uninteresting, and you got something that surpassed all expectations.

A well-know advent hymn issues the invitation, ‘Come, thou long-expected Jesus’. But when Jesus showed up, He overturned and surpassed all hopes of what He would be and do.  Although the arrival of a messiah was prophesied by some, Jesus was certainly not what most people were expecting. For the Pharisees, He was the total opposite of the kind of saviour they had imagined, and they quickly.set about trying to discredit and get rid of Him. For the poor, blind and bound, His arrival was the best news possible. Those who met Him never left unchallenged or unchanged.  For many, the encounter carried the potential of total – and unexpected – transformation.

Today, bombarded by the reality of an unexpected global pandemic, our unsustainable impact on the planet, our abuse of people and crumbling political institutions, perhaps we found it difficult to must any sort of positive expectation whatsoever. Generally, as a people, we have surrendered to the paraphrased words of the eighteenth-century poes Alexander Pope: ‘Blessed are those who expect nothing, for they will never be disappointed.’ In the context of our lives, do we dare to invite the presence of an unexpected Jesus?

Over these days together, we will consider the prophets’ expectations of Jesus: how Jesus’ arrival on the scene was completely unexpected, and how those around Him were transformed as a result. We will explore some encounters Jesu had with people who were faced with His unexpected presence and the searching power of His love. As we see how they responded, hopefully, we too will be challenged to respond.

What are your expectations this Advent? Are you keeping them low in order to avoid disappointment? This Christmas, instead of thinking about what you expect from others, think about what you expect from God. What does it mean that God is with you, right now?

Come and meet an unexpected Jesus – and never be the same again.

About the Author

Anna came to faith at a young age in Saint John, New Brunswick. She completed a Bachelor of Arts in political science at Carleton University in 1989, and later graduated from Acadia University with a Master of Religious Education in 1993 and a Master of Arts (Theology) in 1997.  She served several churches as an ordained minister of the Canadian Baptists of Atlantic Canada. Near the end of her doctoral studies in Wales (PhD 2001), she was appointed to the faculty of the London School of Theology in the UK where she served for 12 years as a teacher and academic leader.

In London, she was theological consultant to organizations including Theos, Christians in Politics, Tearfund, and the Evangelical Alliance. She served on the council of the Baptist Union of Great Britain and was a British delegate to the Baptist World Alliance. Her research graduates serve in diverse teaching and leadership positions around the world.

In 2012, she returned to Nova Scotia with her family, to join the faculty at Acadia Divinity College. In addition to teaching, she has served the College as the Academic Dean (2012-2016), Director of Doctoral Studies (2012-2018), Vice-President (2016-2019), and the first Director of the Andrew D. MacRae Centre for Christian Faith and Culture (2016-present). Since July 2019, Anna has served as President of Acadia Divinity College and Dean of Theology of Acadia University. Dr. Robbins also sits in the Dr. Millard R. Cherry Chair of Theology, Ethics and Culture, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Association of Theological Schools.

Anna continues to write, travel, and speak widely with a passion to help people engage well with matters of contemporary culture and faith.

Anna lives in Wolfville with her husband, Peter, and their son, David.

How to Join the Study

Step 1
Purchase the Book

Physical or digital copies can be purchased in these locations

Parasource – Canadian distributor – Group bulk pricing available.
Blackwells – Includes free shipping to Canada
Amazon Paperback
Amazon Kindle Edition

Step 2
Register to Join the Weekly Discussion

Register to let us know you are participating with us, and to receive the zoom details for the weekly gathering.

Step 3
Start the Study

This book is designed to be read each day alongside your Bible.  Beginning Tuesday, November 17, read one daily entry from the book as part of your devotional time.

On Tuesday mornings at 11 am (ADT), join a group zoom call led by Dr. Anna Robbins to reflect on the week’s readings together.