Not as Expected

A “do over”—I have joked with several family members that we should request one for this month. If only. December has not looked anything like I envisioned in my mind’s eye. I know a number of people who would agree with that assessment from their vantage point as well. It seems like there are a lot of people in my circle who are hurting right now for one reason or another. Don’t get me wrong, I have always liked the idea of escaping some of the hustle and bustle that seems to go hand-in-hand with December. I guess I just wanted the slowdown to be of my own choosing. As it turns out, the fallout from a simple cold has caused me to be still and tuned into the Hallmark channel for a sizable portion of every day these past few weeks.

My expectations and my reality leading up to this most holy of days are out of alignment.  I can’t help but think I have something in common with those who walked the earth thousands of years ago. They were watching and waiting for their Savior and promised Messiah. I imagine they were looking for their King in a palace. Instead His life started in a stable. I bet they expected Him to wear a crown made of jewels rather than one made of thorns. Reality doesn’t always equal expectation.

Admittedly, I like to have my ducks all in a row. I find they rarely line up as expected though. The bottom line:

We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.” Proverbs 16:9 (NLT)

When life doesn’t go according to plan (and even when it does), we can be thankful that He is in control. Because I know how much He loves me, I wouldn’t want it any other way. And He loves you too. I leave you with one of the promises God made His children, the Israelites, when they were taken into captivity by the Babylonians:

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

May you find comfort in that promise and enjoy a peace-filled Christmas even if your reality doesn’t meet your expectations. Christmas is about the reality of who Jesus is—God in the flesh.  When invited into our hearts, He far exceeds any expectations we could ever have.

“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). (Matthew 1:23 NIV)