When I was in my early twenties if someone asked me something along the lines of “Where do you see yourself five years from now?” I would offer an answer that included something about a fabulous job. But if I was honest with myself, I fully expected to work for about 2.5 years after college, then get married and blissfully slip into homemaker mode and get started on the five children I had always wanted to have. (Yes, you may roll your eyes!)
As a very single 30-year-old, I admit I was in a fabulous job and was finally comfortable with who I was (and am) in a lot of ways, with great friends and community around me, living life in the big city of Washington, DC. And yet…. that year was a year of wrestling with God about expectations I had for many areas of my life that weren’t coming to fruition.
Fast forward a few years and I am now married with a toddler and a baby on the way living in Kennett Square – a town I hadn’t even heard of one year ago. Definitely not what I expected! Today, even, my expectations for how the day would go were shot when I had to take my sick son to the doctor, and I was reminded again of how my expectations rarely match my reality.
Christ’s own arrival on earth was not what many expected: Born of a virgin. Not a political figure. Choosing the weak and ill-reputed as his friends and followers. But, God thankfully shatters our expectations with the beauty of salvation and offers us life through Christ himself.
So, is expectation ever a good thing?
Proverbs 10:28 teaches us, “The hope of the righteous brings joy, but the expectation of the wicked will perish.”
This Advent season God is teaching me to let go of my own foolish expectations and hold more tightly to the hope of the birth of Christ, celebrating the only expectation that brings joy and doesn’t perish.
Hebrews 11:1 tells us, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
I believe we – all mankind – are faith-beings. We all put our faith in something, which could be why we continually have expectations about everything from the next episode of our favorite show to the path our lives will take.
Advent ends that cycle of failed expectations and offers instead the only hope that will not fail us. If you’re weary from expectation these days, may the truth of Advent break through: A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices, For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.