Advent – Expectations

One of the fun things about being a human is the things that we expect from one another.  For some strange and unexplainable reason we believe that it is reasonable to expect something from someone else.

I expect you to…(enter your particular peccadillo)

Now all of us who are married or in a committed relationship of some kind – we are crystal clear on what is expected of each other!  Right?

What do you mean – “wrong?”  I am pretty sure that when I do pre-marital counseling with couples that I talk about “making your requests known to one another.”  I say to the woman – don’t make us guess what is on your mind because we men are not that evolved.  I say to the man – it is better to ask clarifying questions than to guess what it is your wife meant because we aren’t evolved enough to interpret correctly.

In other words expectations are froth with trouble, mis-interpretation, and can lead to less than desirable results.  So we should be clear with our expectations and that means that we need to make them known, be willing to clarify if asked to and maybe even negotiate a little if the expectation is beyond the others ability to achieve.

Now the tie in with Advent – what are you expecting this Christmas?

Partying, presents, passive/agressive family members, pouting, primping, plunder, pleasure, peace, packing, procrastination, possessions, or … procession.

Bad King Ahaz of Judah received a visit from God’s prophet Isaiah.  Isaiah told Ahaz that he could expect a miracle from God that would deliver him and the people from harm if he would simply make his request known.  Ahaz replied, “I will not test God in that way.”  Or for the rest of us, “no thank you.”  Instead Ahaz trusted in his own schemes.  He robbed the temple treasury taking all of the gold and silver and bought protection from the Assyrian king.  To make a long story short – he expected protection and instead he got oppression – so the story ended badly for Ahaz and the people of Judah.  Despite Ahaz’s refusal God still made a promise – a virgin shall conceive a child and when he is born you shall call him Immanuel meaning “God is with us.”

A simple teenage girl was promised to be married.  Her name was Mary and her fiance’s name was Joseph.  The angel Gabriel came a calling and told her that she had found favor with God – so much so that she would conceive a child who would be the very Son of God.  Not sure how that was going to happen since she was a virgin, she decided to ask for clarification.  The angel’s answer – by the power of the Holy Spirit because nothing is impossible for God.  Her reply – “I am the Lord’s servant.  Let what you have said be done to me.”  In other words, “That’s cool with me.”

Some of us expect nothing from God – we don’t have a right to, we don’t know what to expect, or we really don’t want to expect anything from God simply because we don’t want God interfering with our lives…for now.

Some of us expect little from God – just bless me enough that life won’t be too much of a struggle and as long as the good out weights the bad, God should reward me in the end.

Still others of us expect everything from God because he is creator, redeemer, and sustainer – he is the center of our being.

I trust God to keep his promises to me – I will never leave or forsake you.

I trust God to keep his promise to the church – where two or more are gathered in my name, I will be present.

I trust God to deliver when it is His will – let all your requests be made known to God.

How about this for a Christmas expectation – that God replace our idolatrous ones with love, joy, peace, hope through the advent of His son – Jesus.  How about we expect God to bless us and use us because we trust what He will do in and through us.

What are you expecting this season?

About Jim Hoffman

Pastor, teacher, leader, novice blogger, wanna be author and Christian conversationalist. Passionate about environmental architecture - creating spaces where people can foster new or growing relationships with each other and God. Currently leads a faith community on Ward Parkway in Kansas City and happily married to Margaret. Blessed with four adult children and two grandsons.
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