I do love the Christmas season. The music. The movies. The opportunity to bake, and cook, and give gifts. The special decorations, especially the Christmas tree. In the process of getting ready for this Christmas, my thoughts turned to last Christmas; to the one that did not really go as planned. The Christmas that inspired a blog post called “Red”, which a song that is about focusing on the true meaning of Christmas and the only thing that really matters at the end of the day.
We live far from our families because of my husband’s job, and our Christmas celebrations as of late have been (based on the worldly vision) less than ideal. Thankfully we have been blessed with wonderful friends, whom have given us company and/or a place to go. Last year however, because of sickness, it was just the four of us. In the midst of constant coughing and having to cancel plans, it seemed as though that Christmas had been “ruined”. But looking back on it after the dust had settled, it was in fact quite perfect. And the reason was, Jesus. He had still been born, He still brought joy, and He still gave us something to celebrate. This year we are still with out family gatherings, although we do get to see two members of our family, the family aspect is still largely missing. And this got me thinking about expectations. Expectations, about the ideal Christmas, or the perfect Christmas. Images of snow, family sitting by the fireplace, and the perfect dinner. This is the view that the world has for Christmas, but the truth is Christmas is about a Baby, a Baby who brought true and lasting joy. All that other stuff, although awesome, is extra.
This is the comfort for those whose Christmas is less than ideal for whatever reason. And if you are in that position believe me, I know how you feel. But I will encourage you to not allow your expectations to cloud what is right in front of you. Focus on who is there, rather than who is not there. In the absence of family, think of someone whom you could bless, someone that you may not have thought of, if your family was present. Heaven has a knack of invading our ideas of Christmas, and in my experience, I have found that Heaven has much better ideas. Expectations tend to steal our joy, and we could miss something important.
One could say that Anakin allowed expectations to steal his joy. He had envisioned in his head the way he thought his life should be, or what he thought his opportunities should look like. He was left wanting, he had no peace, he felt like he was owed something, and when it did not come in the package he expected, he fell. Luke, on the other hand, when he decided to save Anakin, went into it with no expectations. He was just going to love on Anakin in best way he knew how, complete with a “come what may” attitude. And the result was something beautiful, amazing, and for some (to include Anakin) unexpected.
I hope that you will allow yourself to be moved by the pulse of Heaven, which is joy. The joy of Jesus. The joy that the celebration of His birth brings.
May your Christmas not be weighed down by expectation. May your Christmas be focused on Jesus. May Heaven’s ideas invade your ideas. May your Christmas be joyful. May your Christmas be blessed.
“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord.” -Luke 2:10-11
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!