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Here we are again. We are in the season of getting ready, the season of Advent. Advent prepares us for the great mystery of Christmas, the mystery of God’s love being born again. Every year we have known expectations of Christmas cheer through concerts, carolers, decorations, holiday movies and so much more. Our expectations are to be expected because Christmas can be so wonderful after all.

The other day I went to the grocery store to pick up last minute items for a family gathering. The parking lot was full and I was trying to be patient as I scoped out a parking space. I finally found a parking space near the end of the lot. As I got out of the car, I had a flashback of getting out of the car at this exact location in March of 2019. I stood there in silence and took a deep breath. So much has changed. In March of 2019, I had the expectation of being able to purchase all the items that I needed at the grocery store. But then the pandemic hit. I was disappointed and frustrated every time the store shelves where empty with items I thought I absolutely needed. Okay, I really did need toilet paper, paper towels were a luxury. Now, in December of 2021, I go to the grocery store hoping they have what I need and I wonder what I have learned about expectations.

In the words of my mentor and friend, Ann Smith, “Living life only with expectations, will be a life full of disappointments. However, living life with an attitude of expectancy, will be a life full of surprises and new opportunities to join God in the work.” It’s a fact. Christmas will be different this year, not just because of the pandemic, but because we have grown through this pandemic. In this season of getting ready, I want to be more fully present in the preparation. I want to slow down and notice all the good things that God is doing before the baby is born. I want to live with an attitude of expectancy, so when the baby is born this year, I will be surprised and changed. Will you join me on this journey?

Pastor Joel