Expectations and Christmas
This past Friday we had our Young Adult Christmas Party. It was a great night of building community as we played games, ate a wonderful meal, worshiped and look to God's Word for challenge and encouragement. Here is a piece of what we talked about...
Our Expectations for the holidays typically fall into an ideal line of thinking. There is a perfect family sitting down to eat a perfect meal. Everyone says pleasantries to each other, everyone is perfectly happy about their gifts and everyone remembered to buy gifts. Everyone feels loved, content and no one is alone.
The Reality however can darken our once hopeful expectations. Dinner starts a little later than usual, that one strange relative is saying weird things and many family relational dynamics such as divorce and break ups take a toll on the atmosphere. Your heart is reminded of the passing of certain loved ones as you notice they are missing. Think of your own unique circumstances.
Our individual and family circumstances can be interesting during the holiday season. I recall after a hard Christmas, wrestling with God and asking… Why? I had gone into that holiday expecting and hoping for a nice family get together, but was confronted with the reality of how painful some relationships and family dynamics can be.
God wants to help us accept the things that we can’t change on our own effort. You may find your expectations of what you think people should be like or what you think your life should look like is hindering how you experience the peace of Jesus. Have hope, God assures us that he will bring a reality of peace in our hearts, even if present circumstances prove to be challenging.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” – John 14:27
Human expectations are faulty. We focus on the outward things and are often self-focused. However, if we begin to place our expectation in God, we partner with him and get to experience faith, hope, and peace. We need to view life not through our expectations, but with expectation for God to move in and through all things. This takes drawing close to God. It takes putting on a God size view of your situations. Living out of hope and expectation of what God can and will do.
Take time to read Luke 2:1-21 this Christmas season on your own or with your family. It’s the account of Jesus’ birth. Think for a moment the expectations that there were among all the people surrounding the birth of Jesus. I bet no one expected Jesus the King to be born to an unwed virgin, in a lowly place, as a baby. The reality of the circumstance did not meet the expectations of many who had been long awaiting the Savior of the world.
But we don’t look at things through the lenses of what we see. We journey close to God to see what he sees and we lean not on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5). God said … THIS IS MY SON. He is going to save you. I don’t care what it looks like, this is the truth despite what it looks like to your human eyes.
Rather than going into this this Christmas season with all of your expectations. Go into it with expectation and peace of letting God move. In order to do that you must to fix your eyes on his truth, abide (John 15) and place your hope in him.
Jesus is our joy. Our unspeakable joy. Through him we have eternal life. He is a free gift to us from our Heavenly Father.
He wants to give you peace and hope for today and the future. Allow your heart to be filled with expectation as your partner with him in prayer, your time, and your life.
Let your expectations run through God and let him wash you in his peace as he connects you to his heart and hope for the world.
“May the God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” – Romans 15:13
In the midst of the crazy… you can say, “it is well with my soul.”
Where will you put your expectation this Christmas season?