I’ve always longed for my Christmases to be like a Hallmark movie. We laugh. We cry. We hug. The holiday ends wrapped up in a beautiful, big red bow.
Unfortunately, many of my holidays have more closely resembled National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. I have all these expectations of greatness. Only to have my “script” quickly shattered by bickering relatives, broken budgets and my own hard-headed determination to do things my way.
Here’s what I’ve come to realize: Expectations are not a bad thing. The dictionary definition of expectation is “a strong belief that something will happen.” The expectation isn’t the problem. Our determination to define the “something” we’re expecting is the problem. It’s about adjusting Christmas expectations.
God is showing me how to flip my Christmas script. Instead of coming up with my own expectations and trying to make my “something” happen, I’m simply praying this prayer: “God, I lay my expectations at Your feet. I don’t know how You want to show Yourself, but I am open. I expect and believe You will show up. I believe You will make something happen. I leave it up to You to write the script.”
This isn’t a one-time prayer, by the way. I often have to pray it over and over, as the script diverges from anything I would have planned. Adjusting Christmas expectations isn’t easy.
releasing the script
Mary most likely wouldn’t have written her Christmas script the way God did either. Scandalous conception. Barnyard birth. Scarcely time to enjoy her sweet little bundle before they were running for their lives from King Herod. She too may have had to remind herself of the words she spoke when the angel Gabriel visited her:
“Mary (deciding in her heart): Here I am, the Lord’s humble servant. As you have said, let it be done to me.” Luke 1:38 (The VOICE)
I doubt Mary fully understood the amazing script God was writing as He was writing it. She simply submitted the story to her Savior. I am confident she felt His presence in the action. And that was more than enough: “Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19)
We so often grasp for external trinkets when, like Mary, we have the real Treasure living inside of us.