The hardest thing about Christmas is expectations.
We expect particular gifts. We expect particular reactions to gifts. We expect a sense of delight. We expect cooperation. We expect years of contact to be compressed into minutes, and minutes to last for hours. We expect life to match “a wonderful life” where everything turns out just right. Every time, just like George Bailey understands the importance of friends every single time we watch that movie.
And, of course, our expections are frustrated almost every time. Someone pushed joking too far. Some one forgets that no one has been resting and everyone is tired and everyone has been expecting perfection.
The answer, of course, is to expect imperfection, frustration, annoyance. If we expect disappointment, we will, of course, never be disappointed.
Of course, we will then be walking the fine line of cynicism. And ironically, the whole point of Christmas is that expectations will be satisfied, that the dreams of Messiah will become real.
So I’m trying to surrender expectations that people will act anything other than human, that I can live up to anyone’s expectations–including my own–and that Christmas will be anything other than an expression of hope, of confidence that someday we will understand that the Baby who was born fit into no one’s expectations except His Father’s….fortunately.
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