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Christmas season is for many one of the happiest best times of year. Expectation is high, and spirits are high. Traditions are in full swing. Family events, gifts, music, decorations. It’s a time of year that brings out the best and the worst in people.

I want to talk to you for just a moment about expectation.

Parents you enter this time of year with high expectations. You expect to spend more many than you can afford to give your kids more gifts than they need. You save and plan and go over the top. Kids expect to get the things they asked for. I mean they are kids they don’t always know the costs or realize that what they asked for may not be in the cards this year. Same with us adults we put expectation on our spouses and our families and we have high hope. How many in here has ever requested a gift and had high hopes you would receive it and then you got it? How many have had expectations of a gift and you got it, but it wasn’t exactly what you asked for? Maybe it was the wrong color or the wrong size. How many have ever asked for something and not gotten it at all?

So, what do we do in those moments when expectation doesn’t live up to reality?

When God chose to send Jesus way back at the first Christmas the world was a mess. Even though God had provided them with the law and the commandments. The tools to live a good life they ignored it. It was desperate times on earth. John foretold of the messiah coming. There were people looking for him to arrive. I’m sure they had a million different ideas of how he would come.

I was re-reading the Christmas story and I noticed some things I had never noticed before.

We all know the story. Mary became with child. it was a virgin birth, we got Jesus and so on. We know that one. I was more intrigued by Josephs perspective. Joseph was supposed to marry her and now she was pregnant and to make matters worse she was telling him it was Gods baby. I find it funny how we can’t trust God now days to meet a simple need but, yet Mary was asking Joseph to trust her that she was pregnant with Gods baby? I’m sure Joseph had his ideas of how the messiah would come. How salvation would enter the world. I’m also sure that through his girlfriend was not his expectation. I mean let’s be real it was crazy. It was the most out there, hot mess, ridiculous way possible. Here stood joseph probably excited to marry Mary. Mary was revered as kind, caring, probably not at all high maintenance, so when she delivered this news, he probably thought he had hit the jackpot of all crazy trains. I mean you must understand in bible days it was arranged marriages. He had been betrothed to her, was about to get married and now this mess. Non the less when the angel appeared to him told him that she wasn’t crazy and wasn’t lying her believed the angel and went to Bethlehem and well you know the rest. The thing of it that was most amazing to me was the level of Faith that Joseph displayed. Nothing about this situation met his expectation but he still trusted on faith. What stuck out is that when the angel appeared, I can’t find anywhere where he offered Joseph proof. I mean he didn’t show up with a DNA test result from heaven. He just showed up said Mary is not a lie sack, she’s legit and then went away. And Joseph even though none of this met his expectation trusted the angel and Mary on faith and moved forward. All the people anticipating Jesus arrival weren’t expecting a dirty manger, hay, animals or any of what God chose to use to answer their need for a savior. But Jesus was the greatest answered prayer of all time. The greatest gift mankind could receive.

Faith over expectation is important. Expectation is a good thing but if we are not careful, we will allow it to cancel our faith and our answer to prayer. As we pray let us not miss our answers when God chooses to do things differently than we expected. Its ok to expect him to move but let’s not place our own expectation so high that we can’t see when he does. He may not have the same plan as you. And I’ll throw this in for good measure. This Christmas don’t let your expectations cloud your reality. Kids you may ask for a gift that your parent know isn’t good for you. Trust them. Have faith that they will lead and do what’s best for you even if its not what you expect. Same for all of us. Let’s have expectation that God will move, but also have enough faith to trust his way of doing so. Even if its not what we expect. In whatever way God answers my prayer I just want to have faith and be thankful that he does. I don’t want to fall to the trap of expectation and miss out on the blessing. Surrendering my will to his may be the hardest thing ever, but it is worth it.

1 JOHN 5:14-15

This is the confidence we have in approaching God; that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of him.

I love how this scripture on trust, confirms that God listens to our prayers and answers them.

He might not approve everything you ask for. But if your prayers align with His purpose for your life, then you can be confident that they will come to pass.

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