Exploding Expectations

Luke 1:14 “He will be a joy and a delight to you…”

Peppermint mocha coffee, Christmas carols and bustling people. Every year I look forward to the day my husband takes off work to do our Christmas shopping with me. More than the actual purchases, I enjoy the time we have together soaking in the sights and sounds of the season.

“Let’s start our day out today by seeing what we can find online.” was Greg’s idea last Friday. Online? As in laptops sitting on the couch? No special coffee or mall decorations? I knew he had the right idea; the types of things we hoped to find for our kids weren’t found in the mall. Yet, I struggled to not have things as they always are; my expectations weren’t going to be meet glaring at a screen for a few hours.

I did my best; really I did! As Greg took the girls to school, I began my self-talk. “You’re still together, Lynn. It can be a really good morning, you just have to change your mindset.” I got dressed up like I was going to the mall, made my favorite tea and put on the Christmas music. I made up my mind that my expectations were not going to end in an explosion!

Honestly, I really struggled! I felt cheated of out of our special time. Through I knew it was effective, the experience wasn’t meeting my expectations, yet I wanted to be one who brought joy and delight to my husband’s day.

Like words of the angel to Zechariah, an expectation of good during the Christmas season is at an all time high.

But sometimes, those expectations, even if they are good, can actually turn out to be a trap. We each come into Christmas time with different expectations. If those expectations are for good; we want those experiences to be replicated. If our Christmas experiences have been painful, we can have negative expectations. Both expectations, whether good or bad, threaten to impact our season. Which in turn, impacts our relationships.

As we anticipate spending time with loved ones, we can take steps to see that these expectations and experiences do not rule our family times. We can choose, to the best of our ability, to bring joy and delight to those around us. We can choose to be carriers of peace. 

How do we do that? My pastor, Steven Furtick, says being a carrier of peace requires us being a servant, like the One whose birth we celebrate. Washing the feet of His servants, He showed how to put others first. Copying His model of being the servant, will do more than anything else to keep those Christmas expectations in check.

Father, Help us today. Help us in the celebrations to come, to check our expectations. Give us strength to serve like You; not just in deed, but in our hearts as well.

How can you plan ahead to deal with expectations for your celebrations? Let’s encourage each other to bring joy and delight to our family and friends this Christmas season!

Lynn

7 Comments

  1. Emily B (emleepc@yahoo.com) says:

    I hope that I can be a peaceful and fun hostess as we are having the Christmas gathering at our house this year. The plans were made, and things are changing, even as I type, and I get upset about things like that (especially since I made the plans over a month ago!!) I'm asking for peace and calm, and much joy to spread around!

  2. Emily,
    I am the hostess for my family Christmas this year too. One thing I try to keep near my heart is that my family didn't come for a perfect meal or a tidy house. They've come to celebrate the King and be with family. That really helps me; to keep the right perspective.
    Praying for you right now,
    Lynn

  3. Oh Lynn, I can SO relate to this. I sometimes wish I could extract every expectation straight out of my brain–life would be much easier that way. 😀

    I love your self-talk example. I think I need to have a chat with myself a little more often.

    Merry Christmas, my friend.

  4. Julie,
    I am sure if you hung around me for very long you would think I was a bit wacky because I have to do a whole lot of self talk!
    Been praying for you and your proposal.
    Merry Christmas to you too Friend!

  5. its best to accept reality, i always wanted these perfect christmases and usually i got mess, but sometimes it was ok and im thankful for that. But we are not the Waltons or the cleavers more like the jeffersons,or good times or rosanne and i have at 35 relinquished my expectation to have the TV Christmas' it's entirely too exausting and makes people mad, it's best to do what you can with what you have and be thankful it isn't worse. Not trying to b negative but honestly life is what it is sometimes and it's easier to thank God for where you are and hope that you can get where you would like to b if it's His will. IT may not be.

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