Great Expectations

Expectations can be a very dangerous thing. Expectations, are at times, necessary and good; but if they are unrealistic or placed incorrectly on others, they can become huge stumbling blocks in our lives.
We all have expectations. We have expectations for ourselves, for our husbands, for our family, our friends, and even from God. We judge people based on these expectations; and if they are not met, we are often hurt, upset, and disappointed at the person who failed to meet them.
Most of the time, we never stop to consider whether our expectations were actually realistic or right to begin with.
So why am I writing about expectations right before Christmas? Well, because I really want to spend time with Grant. I have had expectations about things I want to do with him and times I want to spend with him around Christmas.
I expected that we’d get to have fires in the fireplace, go for walks in our neighborhood, and go to church together. I expected that we would somehow be able to eat dinner together. And yet, with his insanely busy schedule, these expectations that I have, cannot be met.
At the end of a day, sometimes I feel sad that we can’t do these things together. But the thing is, I should know better. I know that my expectations for these things at this stage in our lives are unrealistic. And yet, I still have them. I know that Grant is in the United States Marine Corps serving our country and that his particular job right now is extremely strenuous. This is the season we are in our lives right now. It’s just the way it is. And it won’t be like this forever.
But here’s the sad thing about expectations. We often allow them to get in the way of what God is doing in our lives. We dwell on our unmet expectations instead of asking God to show us what He wants us to learn from the experience or situation that is turning out differently than we imagined.
I’m not the first person to have unmet expectations. Over 2,000 years ago there were a lot of people who had expectations about the coming Messiah. They expected Him to be an impressive and inspiring leader who would set the Jews free from Roman rule and bring political freedom. They expected the Messiah to be a triumphant and majestic king fit for royalty.
But Jesus wasn’t what they expected. He wasn’t what they expected at all. Just read the book of John (my favorite Gospel to read in December). Jesus came from a poor family and was born in a stable. He was humble and not much to look upon.
It was the greatest reversal of all time. The King of the Universe being welcomed into the world by shepherds and animals.
And on top of all that, Jesus’ message during his adult ministry was hard.

{Therefore the Jews were grumbling about Him, because He said, “I am the bread that came down out of heaven.” They were saying, ‘Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does He now say, ‘I have come down out of heaven’?” – John 6:41-42}
{. . .As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore. – vs. 66}

He just didn’t meet their expectations, and so they missed Him all together. They missed God Incarnate. Their “great” expectations caused them to miss what was truly great.
Those who truly saw Jesus, listened and believed in Him, not in their own ideas of Him. They had to lay aside all of their own expectations, and embrace Him for all that He was and is.
I don’t know what your expectations are this Christmas, or who you may have put them on; but I encourage you to not to get so wrapped up over certain things that you miss the ways in which God is trying to show Himself to you.
Don’t miss Him this Christmas. I don’t want to. He wants to reveal Himself to you in greater ways than you could ever expect.

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