Christmas Expectations vs. Reality

Maybe unmet expectations at Christmastime are actually hidden blessings.

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- Posted on Nov 29, 2017

A broken Christmas ornament on top of Christmas tree leaves.

“A Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.”—Luke 2:11 (NIV)

My daughter Kendall emailed a photo this morning that made me laugh out loud and then feel sad for her. The caption read: “When we came downstairs this morning, here’s what we saw.” Their beautifully decorated nine-foot fresh Christmas tree was flat on the floor surrounded by shattered ornaments. What an exclamation point on a season of expectations already marred by two of their three little ones getting sick and a constant change of their festive family plans. It was a season of expectations edited by realities.

The picture touched something familiar within me as I remembered being a mom of three young children, entering the holiday season with visions of sugarplums dancing in my head, only to be disappointed by cranky kids as we ran from church activities to preschool parties to the mall, increasing my own fatigue because I felt responsible to make the magic of Christmas happen for them.

Have I learned anything from those years of experiences? I pondered that question as I dug deeper into my years of memories.

Maybe God intends purpose in our unmet expectations at Christmastime. Maybe they are meant to open up a wider space in our souls that can be filled only with Jesus. Maybe the longings are meant to prepare us to freshly receive the meaning of His birth each year and celebrate with deeper understanding. Maybe...

Could I tell my daughter about these maybes or will she learn them for herself when trees fall down and kids get sick? Perhaps both. I picked up the phone to call her.

Jesus, the responsibilities and unmet expectations of a busy Christmas season increase my longing for You and the meaning of Your birth. For this, I am grateful and pray that my daughter will recognize the same blessing this year.

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