Advent is the season that we prepare for the arrival of our Savior Jesus – when we celebrate his birth, and that he came to earth at the just the right time, to fulfill all the prophecies and promises of God. And to remember that we are waiting for him to come again, this time not as a babe born in Bethlehem, but as the King of Kings!
This year I believe we have experienced grief upon grief. What if we could look for grace upon grace?
The truth is we have a God who does the unexpected! We see it all throughout scripture, and we even see it in our own lives. God used a shepherd boy to kill a giant with a couple of stones and a slingshot. He fed the children of Israel with bread that fell from the sky. God does the unexpected.
He chose a teenage virgin girl to be the mother of His son. He had an ordinary carpenter be his earthly father and not divorce his betrothed. He had his son be born in a feeding trough. His first visitors were the lowest in society, lowly shepherds. He turned water into wine. He fed over 5,000 people with a little boy’s lunch, 5 loaves and 2 fish. He walked on water. He healed a woman who barely touched the hem of his robe. God works in the unexpected.
And this Messiah, the one sent to save the world, did the most unexpected thing ever, he died on a cross to take our place, to pay our penalty for sin. And then… he rose again!! The empty tomb, unexpected grace!
You can be expectant, and full of hope. What if, instead of clinging to expectations, we adopted a spirit of expectancy? To be expectant is to wait with anticipation. We can be expectant for what God can and will do in our lives.
How do we shift from expectations to expectancy? First, we have to identify the expectations that are driving our attitudes, behaviors and responses. What expectations are keeping us from experiencing joy and allowing room for God to work?
Then, we confess and release those expectations to God. We recognize that we are approved by God, loved by God and that we are in need of God. He wants us in a place of dependency on him, trusting him.
Finally, we reframe our expectations into anticipatory statements of what God can and will do. Reframing looks like this. Release expectations – surrender to God who can, and who will.
God can fill in the gaps of my parenting.
God will comfort me in my loneliness.
God can teach me to appreciate those who think differently than I do.
God will be constant and faithful regardless of my circumstance.
God can put a worshipful spirit in my heart regardless of where that worship happens.
God can bring peace into chaos.
God can turn hurt into healing.
God will never leave me or forsake me.
The truth is God can and God will and God did! All of his promises came true the night when Christ was born. And no matter what your expectations are for this Advent season, this Christmas that may look so different than any in the past, you can be expectant and full of hope for Christ was born in Bethlehem, the Savior, born for you. Grace upon Grace — gift given and received. A gift we have the privilege to share with others. A truth we can be certain of even in the midst of uncertainty.
Release expectations… Surrender to God who can and who will.