Christmas is a time of great expectations. My children expect that Santa will soon be here, bringing bags full of toys for good girls and boys. My wife and I expect romance to be renewed and family to be re-connected. We expect to hear from old friends through cards and Christmas parties. But, in the midst of these expectations, are we expecting Jesus this Christmas?
We “expect” future events only when we understand that we are part of a story. Things have happened before and things foretold will happen in the future. We are in the middle of the story. When we forget the story, we lose our sense of expectancy – that something else is about to happen. Without expectancy, we wander aimlessly through life.
There is a reason that we are moved by the beauty of creation – by sunsets and snow-capped mountains and flowers in bloom. There is a reason that we have a natural compassion for our fellow man – a desire to end suffering and to remove injustice. There is a reason that our hearts long to be in lasting relationships – with friends and families and spouses. We were created to be caretakers in the Garden, to be in community with God and our fellow man, to live for eternity. As Christians, we should know that the story in which we live is not nearly finished. We should be expecting what happens next.
Simeon “eagerly expected” Jesus. He was not surprised to come across Jesus. He was living righteously in preparation for Jesus’ arrival. Are we eagerly expecting the arrival of Jesus?
Prayer: Lord, if I were honest, I would admit that the last thing I am expecting this Christmas is to see Christ. I am so busy trying to meet my expectations and the expectations of others that I am blind to the expectation that you have placed in my heart. Let me sit quietly this season in expectation of you. Let me not be surprised when you appear. Amen. -Monty Walton From the Church Street Advent Devotion Book, 2013