Expectation. Maybe during this time of the year, expectation runs at one of its highest given the season. Children are bouncing off the walls to see what will appear under the tree in a matter of ten days; others are excited for this major snowfall; some have great anticipation as they are going to experience that first Christmas with a newlywed or a new born. Maybe it is the first Christmas in a new house, or you perhaps are even celebrating it in a new way. Whatever situation people find themselves in; there is a level of hopeful expectation.
However, as we know and often experience, sometimes our expectations are not met. Sometimes things do not turn out the way we think they should. Sometimes we are expecting happiness and we overlook joy....
What are your expectations? How do you expect God to come to you this season? Where are you looking? Do we sometimes look in the wrong places? Do we miss it when it happens? Are we caught up in seeking happiness and missing joy?
(From Pastor Randy's Sermon)
From Pamela -- My life has rarely been filled with expectations that are met. For some reason my greatest sorrows and my greatest joys have generally been unanticipated and unbidden. There has generally been a balance of loss/gain, pain/pleasure, brokenness/reconciliation.
Just recently I experienced a situation that seemed that it would be, at best, "positive" -- My younger brother is seriously ill. My older brother arrived from out of town and we were debating about going to the hospital. Why debate? Because these two men have not spoken for nearly a decade, and have not seen each other for 7 years. What was always a strained relationship had become totally alienated.
Yet, as is so often the case, with grave illness hitting my younger brother, the older man felt that he "should" see his younger brother while he could.
I did not see how the visit could be anything but painful -- my younger brother is very skilled at cutting himself off from others without ever looking back.
Yet we went to the hospital room.
Upon seeing my face, my "little" brother's face lit up as it so often does. Then I announced: "There is somebody else here to see you!"
When my older brother came around the corner, my younger brother's face was, literally, like the young boy seeing Christmas Morning miracles. Then he said: "Oh my God, I have missed you, brother!"
No words can contain the abundant joy in that moment -- totally unprecedented. unexpected and mysterious.
With the grave illness still raging, happiness is still elusive when it comes to my younger brother. However, JOY is very much alive, well, and vibrant!