With the season of Advent in full swing, the question that keeps surfacing for me is this: What am I expecting?
I’m afraid that many of us, if we’re honest, would answer that question like this:
- I’m expecting to gain back the five pounds I lost last summer.
- I’m expecting some tedious holiday gatherings that I’m too busy to really enjoy.
- I’m expecting a monstrous Visa bill in January, once all of the holiday ‘cheer’ is over.
In other words, many of us aren’t expecting much from Christmas this year. It’s easy to fall into expectations built on Christmases past, and we’ve all experienced some whoppers, haven’t we? This season of comfort and joy is so often hijacked by stress and consumerism, to the detriment of those who really are seeking the Christ child – we just get distracted along the way. Caught up in these tangents, it’s easy to lower our expectations of Christmas to the standard being set by a commercially-driven world where the fondest memories we create are tied to how closely our shopping list matched the heart’s desire of our family and friends.
Psalm 31:24 might be just the cheer we need this season, in order to raise our expectations to the level of God’s great provision:
“Be brave. Be strong. Don’t give up. Expect God to get here soon.” (The Message)
Expect God to get here soon? Really?! Is that what we are supposed to expect the next 21 days to deliver? Not presents? Not parties? Not a few days off from work? This isn’t at all what the world around us is expecting! From all evidence and signs, the world expects a potluck and a pile of toys for Christmas…
What would we DO if God were actually to arrive – and soon?!
In Ancient Rome it was customary for a young woman after marriage to wear a snug-fitting band of some rigid material – gold or brass – around her neck. Often nicely adorned, as jewelry, this necklace was both ornamental and diagnostic. Borne of an old wives’ tale, the understanding was that once pregnant, the necklace would become tight to the point of discomfort. Removing the necklace, then, was a tell-tale sign that she was expecting. It was her public birth announcement, you might say. A sign of her coming joy. An evidence of her new family’s ongoing journey of creation. An invitation for others to join her in anticipation of new life, which she expected to be here – soon.
Believers, it’s high time we remove our chokers and consider the ways that our lives are ‘showing’ the anticipated glory of God! Like an expectant mother, you and I are called into this season of Advent by God’s promise of new life, great light and a future full of hope!
Yes, things are bleak in the dark world around us. Yes, people are missing the point once again. Yes, expectations are low as we enter into another Christmas season.
But BE BRAVE!
DON’T GIVE UP!
EXPECT GOD TO GET HERE SOON!
What eager, young mommy-to-be tries to cover up her coming joy? Let it show – let HIM show!
- Christmas Craft Idea: Family Advent Box (grandefalcone.wordpress.com)
- How Advent Can Be Much More Than “The Christmas Season” (glennpackiam.typepad.com)
- Top Ten Advent Bible Devotions and Reading Plans (edevotional.com)