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Believe it or not

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I hung up the phone, having told one of my adult children not to get hopeful: Trump didn’t have a chance; the TV commentator my daughter had just heard was merely trying to make it look interesting so people would stay tuned to their network, I told her.
Minutes later, I advised another one of my adult children, a Hillary supporter, not to worry: Trump would lose, I predicted, just as I had told the first child, who stood on the opposite end of the political spectrum.
Now we all know how wrong I was.
But I wasn’t alone. Chances are, your assessment of Trump’s election chances was similar to mine. And you weren’t alone either.
USA Today, citing RealClear/Politics, listed the Polls that consistently gave Clinton a comfortable lead in recent weeks. They included:  Bloomberg Politics, CBS News, Fox News, Reuters/Ipsos, USA TODAY/Suffolk, Quinnipiac, Monmouth, Economist/YouGov and NBC News/SM.
Of 67 national polls tracking a four-way race since the start of October, only four gave Trump the lead, according to RealClearPolitics. Of 61 national polls tracking a two-way race during that period, only six gave Trump the lead, according to USA Today.
The day after the epic upset, I can’t recall anyone I talked with, regardless of whom they supported for president, who wasn’t astounded by the outcome.
I went to bed Tuesday night, not at bit tempted to stay up and watch the election results: after all, I knew the outcome.
“Trump got elected president,” my wife screamed from the next room. I was in the kitchen, pouring my second cup of coffee, almost spilling it when I heard her.
I hadn’t bothered to check the news the morning of Nov. 9, for I believed there was no need; I knew who had won, or so I thought.
“It’s got to be some internet hoax,” I shouted.
But believe it or not, it was true: Donald Trump was the president-elect.
The political pundits, on whom I was depending, with all their mathematical models and opinion polling, had flubbed it.
I could write several thousand words on why.
But I won’t.
Standing there in front of the coffee pot, still in shock, trying to process my earlier disbelief, my mind leaped forward… all the way to Easter.
“Easter?” you say. “The presidential election? Whoa, what’s the connection?”
Here it is: the political earthquake of last week’s election can hint at the tsunami of shock that swamped those who experienced that first Easter.
Too many of us have grown accustomed to what was once the ultimate surprise of all: Jesus who was once dead, I mean, dead, really dead, is truly risen. No one expected it.
Some 2,000 years down the Easter celebration road, it’s become commonplace. “Ahh, ho hum: ‘He is Risen, He is Risen indeed.’ When can we go to Easter lunch and let the kids look for Easter eggs?”
But the whole thing was so outlandish to Simon Peter and the first disciples that they thought the women who claimed to have seen him alive had fallen victim to a hoax, just like I thought my wife had. It wasn’t supposed to happen like this; the Messiah doesn’t get killed, not according the to the way the Biblical experts had been reading the Script. And a resurrection? Not necessary, because the Messiah would win, not lose by submitting to the humiliation of a cross.
Now, I am in no way comparing either the president-elect or the defeated candidate, to Christ---God forbid. And Christ wasn’t raised from the dead by popular election.
Just the opposite.
It would take the Risen Messiah Himself appearing to the disciples before they would fall on their knees in worshipful praise.
So, standing there, gazing into my coffee mug, early on the morning of Nov. 9, I decided to tuck that sense of total surprise away for the moment, let it percolate through Advent, Christmas, and Lent, and then on Easter Sunday, pull that sense of shock---and my words to my wife about an internet hoax---back up again.
The wonder of the first Easter was something like that, only much, much more.
So, I rejoice in the Surprise of all Surprises: He is alive, now and then, here and there.
Christ is alive.
Really alive.
Believe it or not.
Editor’s note: You can contact David Whitlock, Ph.D., at drdavid@davidwhitlock.org. His website is www.davidwhitlock.org.