Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Great Expectations

The word of the day:

expectation, noun.

1. the act of expecting or state of being expected; anticipation.

Ex. the expectation of a good harvest.

(SYN) hope.

2. something expected or looked forward to.

expr. expectations, good reasons for expecting something; prospects.

Ex. He has expectations of money from a rich uncle.

Here I am, going along in my little world of growth and grace, and then SLAM-right into the great wall of expectations. All of my heart's freedom, strength, and anticipation turn on me and suddenly, I am the one people are looking to with expectations. This is my 13th year of playing Santa and being Christmas Morning Mama. I feel like the only way to get through it is to hold my breath, click on one more link that drains my credit card, and dream of January.

But, I absolutely cannot stand any season of my life to go to waste. How can I access peace of mind while rushing through department stores with "Peace on earth. Good will to men" playing in the background? If there is any truth I know, it is that true love, joy, peace, patience, etc. have no power at all if they are delicately balanced on my circumstances.

Giving and receiving gifts has become an obligation for me. Without all of the materialism and commercialism (and probably some more isms I don't even know about), finding a present that is a tiny representation of how I feel about someone is a precious opportunity. Opening my heart to receive what someone has thoughtfully chosen for me with graciousness is a lesson. To give and receive, not from a place of meeting expectations, but of sharing the smallest piece of God's goodness, is just about the most appealing thing I could be doing with my life right now.

So, Christmas, I've got something to say to you:

You will not steal my joy, you cannot have my peace. I will not even let you try my patience.

For the rest of these December days, I will be open to discovering and sharing the real gifts I have been given, and my heart and my hands will be open to receiving them.

(I wrote this 4 years ago on My Messy Sanctuary, but it is my Christmas devotion every year.)