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!