12 point victory is the smallest margin of victory for the Orange(men) this season. Watching the game, especially the first half, that and the second half, got me really excited about another possible National Championship. This team really has it all. They have big bodies down low that can score and rebound. They have a great pro prospect in Wesley Johnson who I thought played poorly, and still ended up with 17 pts and 10 rbs. They have an improving Freshman PG, a sharpshooter who is now driving and distributing in Rautins, and 2 high performers coming off the bench. Most of what I like is they play with intensity, which can often be lacking in a 2-3 zone, but not these Orange...(men). It's fun watching them some of the best teams the SEC, ACC, and Pac-10 have to offer. I'm giddy, even.
The best thing about this season is that Syracuse lost 3 starters last year. All of whom left early, and had the pundits and myself not expecting very much. Then they lost to Lemoyne a D-II school across town in Syracuse. That lost to the Dolphins made many who had hope in this team to lose it.
So the stage was set for a terrible, dissappointing season...and that makes this ascent by my Syracuse Orange so surprising, so exciting so perfectly timed for Christmas. Christmas is the story of God providing an unforeseen gift to a people who without him would be without hope. That's been my preaching theme this year as I look through the Christmas story. To us it's the same old same old. (Like being a UCLA fan in the 60's-70's and to a lesser extent Duke fan in the 90's)
But if you read it with open eyes, with a fresh perspective you realize that the Christmas story is surprise after surprise after surprise. Zacharias your ancient wife Elizabeth is are going to have a son. Mary I know you are a virgin, but you will be impregnated with the Son of God, Joseph your wife to be is pregnant, but she was completely faithful. Hey Shepherds, the Savior of the world is in town, why not visit him. Wise men, I know you have dedicated your lives to searching the skies and now you have seen the greatest most amazing star to ever appear, and by the way don't go back to Herod. Each of these situations is amazing in it's own right, so I won't even mention the fact that a freaking angel came to these people to surprise them and turn their world upside down.
That's who God is, in the darkness. In times of hopelessness he brings the most amazing surprises into our lives. He's the God who says in Habakkuk 1:5
"Look at the nations and watch—
and be utterly amazed.
For I am going to do something in your days
that you would not believe,
even if you were told.
and in Ephsians 3:20
20Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
He does stuff that we wouldn't believe, that we can't even imagine. That's our God, the God of surprises. Merry Christmas.