Expectation: a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future. 

Luke 2:11 –  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.

I struggle so much with the month of December, the expectations threaten to steal all my joy in this season. There are lost expectations and grief from missing loved ones. I’m constantly managing others’ expectations (or my own guesses about them) as I try to buy the perfect gifts and cook a great meal.  I’m expecting to see the whole family, attend parties and visit with people who have no one to celebrate with. It’s the most wonderful and overwhelming time of year!  I carry all the pressure of these expectations that honestly,  even in my best most “got it together” year I could never meet.  It’s so easy for me to get distracted by comparisons, become disappointed and forget what the season is truly about.

I have heard the Christmas story all of my life and each year I ask the Lord to teach me something new from this story. Today, as I sit reading it again in my house that’s under construction with all of my stuff packed away, God is speaking to me about expectations! 

When Jesus was born, the people were waiting, looking, expecting a messiah, a king, someone to deliver them, overcome evil and rule in peace. God defied all expectations.  He sent a baby….born in Bethlehem- in a barn…to live a perfect life, to die a horrible death and rise again on the 3rd day!  He chose a young, young woman named Mary, and a carpenter named Joseph to be His parents.  We would have expected Jesus to be born in a palace, or the best the world could offer, but God chose a stable, a dirty barn with animals! What did Mary think? She was expecting to be married, not have a baby in a barn with animals and hay! What about Joseph? He was expecting to marry his bride, not become a father. But, they were obedient, and they loved. They put their expectations aside and obeyed God.

God’s gift for you may not be packaged the way you expected it! God has such a beautiful plan, wrapped in ways you could never dream or expect! Our lives may look and feel like that messy barn. You may think God has brought you to the wrong place, and surrounded you with unexpected guests – like Mary. But God’s presence changes everything and fills our hearts with hope and joy!  Like Mary & Joseph, let’s surrender our expectations and embrace His presence.

“Do not be afraid” is the angel’s message over and over. To me, in this season of my life His message is: don’t be afraid, let God work, surrender my expectations. I commit this Christmas Season to the Lord, and I’m asking Him to establish my thoughts and plans. 

Expecting blessings, choosing the Joy of Jesus, & expecting my Savior’s return,Mary

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