“Tis’ the season to be jolly… falalalala lalalala…”
Yeah it is! Christmas is the season to be FULL of joy! School and uni are out, assignments are done and I am in full relaxation mode! However, sometimes we can get so wrapped up (mind the pun 😉) in the festivities. I don’t know about you, but I can tend to become distracted by all the preparations and expectations for Christmas that I forget what the focus of the season really is.
I mean there are a lot of expectations around Christmas. ‘Am I going to get what I wanted? Did I buy the right presents? Are the Christmas parties going to be fun?’ Shopping centres have built up an expectation of a grand festive celebration; I’ve been hearing Christmas carols for months now! Christmas is a time of expectation… but are those expectations always fulfilled?
Among the expectations that rise during this time of year, one in particular is initiated by what we call ‘the season of Advent’.
It’s the expectation of salvation. This is the bit where Jesus comes in.
This time of ‘expectation for Jesus’ is what I call a time of expectant delight. Simply put, we are expecting the coming of our Saviour and delighted because it changes everything! Jesus was born to triumph over all our sins and weaknesses through the cross. And not only that, but we also have an expectant delight in God’s ability to fulfill his promises to us, past, present and future.
‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will fulfill the good promise I made to the people of Israel and Judah.’
Jesus’ birth was the fulfilment of this prophecy, but more importantly, a fulfilment of the promise made by our Heavenly Father (who btw never breaks his promises). Jesus came to be the Way, Truth and Life to this world! He came to wash away our sins, fill us with his Spirit and teach us how to live a life following God. So in Advent, we genuinely wait in eager expectation because Jesus is the only one who fulfills all our deepest hopes, desires and needs. That’s pretty cool.
On the other hand, the expectations we have for the other aspects of Christmas are temporary, and also may not be fulfilled in the way we hoped. The expectation for instance that you will get the present you wanted (like instead of an x-box, your aunty gave you a stuffed animal). What about the expectations of a successful Boxing Day shopping trip? (Tip: never associate the words ‘successful’ and ‘Boxing Day shopping’!) Or perhaps you had the expectation that your favourite cousins were coming up for the break, only to discover a week before that they can’t make it? Sometimes our hopeful expectations can quickly become fulfilled disappointments.
Personally, the expectation I am holding onto this Advent doesn’t have flaws or possible mishaps. Instead it is an expectation in knowing my Heavenly Father will not just fulfill but exceed my expectations, with no small-ink ‘terms and conditions’ attached. I don’t need 30 days to return the gift of salvation, love and healing to heaven: it comes with a lifetime warranty!
You know what’s even better? When the Christmas lights come down and the carols have left the shopping centres, there is an opportunity for more: an invitation to experience the coming of Christ again, a confidence that God will continue to fulfill his promises every day of the year, and the hope that we can become better people when we live a life in His name. I don’t know about you, but those sound more fulfilling then the usual expectations wrapped around the season of Christmas each year.
This time of year opens the door for SO much more than just anticipation for pressies on Christmas morning (and that epic 3pm food coma). This year, why not journey through this time in expectant delight, using every day as a chance to look forward to the coming of Jesus into the world? I promise you won’t be disappointed!