Christmas is a season of great expectations.
As children, we made long Christmas wish lists. Sometimes with things reasonable, sometimes not. But we fell asleep on Christmas Eve with great expectations that the next morning's dreams would become a reality.
Every parent gives the Santa at the mall the stink eye when your kids whisper what they want for Christmas. It is the deep penetrating eyes of intent that say, “Hey Buddy, you hold our fate in your hands. Endorse the reasonable. Sink the impossible. Mkay!”
I imagine my wife falls asleep on Christmas Eve, praying in great expectations that the morning will bring her a taller and more handsome husband. Thirteen Christmases now, and that expectation has been squelched every time.
Christmas brings an expectation of joy, as we gather with family and friends for parties.
Christmas brings expectations of hope that families can be reunited, that love can heal, that peace can be brought to even the most difficult of circumstances.
For so many, our expectations throughout this year have felt deflated day after day. It seems futile to have expectations for Christmas, knowing that many of us will not be with family or provide what we usually would for those we love.
Maybe this is a year where we need to reconsider our expectations. As one person put it, “We can often be our own worst enemies. If we can learn to stop expecting impossible perfection in ourselves and others, we may find the happiness that has always eluded us.”
The Apostle Paul put it this way, “I have learned to be content in any and all circumstances, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or want. For I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:12-13).
I wonder what it might look like if, in this season of scarcity, if we turned to abundance. I wonder what it might do for our soul if we rediscovered what we do have rather than we do not.
In turn, may we offer this prayer to God: Abiding Spirit, give me eyes to recognize the many ways I am blessed. Give me the courage to find joy and satisfaction in these things. Give me the joy to share them with others in word and action.