when you least expect it

I’m not a “happy Christmas” person. It’s not my favorite season.

Some people at work yesterday asked me why.

I think it’s because of the expectation.

Not expectation in the advent sense, expectation as anticipation, as hope. That kind of expectation would be wonderful.

No, it’s more the “living up to expectations” kind of expectation. This season we are supposed to be happy, we are supposed to be warm, we are supposed to be giving.

I’m not very good at “supposed to be.” I would rather be happy when it is contrary to everyone else. I would rather provide calmness in the middle of chaos. I would rather lighten the mood.

And I am afraid that I won’t like the gifts or that someone won’t like my gift or that I won’t be creative enough or timely enough or thoughtful enough.

The whole point of what we call Christmas is the sheer unexpectedness.

There was a general sense of anticipation of a messiah in the culture. There was a very focused sense of expecting for Mary and Joseph. The hassle of a census. The unruly sheep. The discomfort of pregnancy. The questions of illegitimacy. The occupation. All of these shaped expectations of pain and frustration and wistful hope for deliverance.

But for all of them, this particular gift with this particular wrapping at this particular random time was completely unexpected.

Which is, of course, what you would expect…from someone saving the world from itself.

Happy Christmas.

2 responses to “when you least expect it

  1. Thank you for this post. You’re not alone.

  2. I tend to be contrary at times as well. Don’t tell me what to think or how to feel. I think, though, that sometimes we carry it too far. Just because the world says we’re supposed to be happy at Christmas, let’s not let that ruin our happiness. If you’re happy be happy. If you enjoy giving gifts, enjoy it at Christmas even if you were supposed to do it. Why is it so hard to just be? Not act and react to convention?