“Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?” (Matthew 2:1-2).
I don’t know about your family, but I know many families where the Christmas season is such a big production; supposed to be full of the perfect Hallmark movie moments. Then reality sets in. The cookies don’t look like the picture showed, the kid’s performance in the plays were less then Oscar worthy, the tree looks less like Martha Stewart and more like Charlie Brown, and the search for the perfect gift comes up empty. This list of holiday expectations could fill this page. Anticipation of a great season quickly turns to disappointment and frustration.
I started thinking about the anticipation of another Christmas event the other day. The anticipation of a Savior, the Messiah. For hundreds of years they had been promised a deliverer, prophets foretold his coming, talk about a highly anticipated event.
When Jesus made his entrance into humanity it was less then Oscar worthy. We make Christmas time a pretty, glorious, glittery, special event and a season of great hope. We have the end of the story. But think about these people who had waited for their deliverer.
They were waiting for a Messiah who would deliver them from Roman oppressors. He was to be a strong, mighty king; after all he was to be a descendent of one of the most famous kings of Israel, King David. The Wise Men ask in the above verse, ““Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?” Even King Herod was nervous by hearing of his birth; this newborn King would obviously rival his position. So nervous was he that he tried to have Jesus killed as a baby.
When He finally arrived he wasn’t anything they had imagined. A babe, born in a manger, the son of a carpenter, not a king; this was not what they anticipated. Not even close, but He was God’s perfect plan of salvation. He was despised and rejected by those closest to him. It didn’t look like they expected it to so many rejected the notion that this could possibly be God’s plan. They didn’t trust that God knew what he was doing even though it looked different.
Once again, in the Christmas story, I am reminded that God’s plan rarely lines up with our expectations. Our lives don’t always take the direction we have planned, but that’s probably just how God intended it! We just have to trust in him, he knows what he’s doing.
As we look around the world today there is so much uncertainty and things are changing at an unprecedented pace. It brings peace and joy not only at holiday time but all year round to know that God is unchanging. Much like that first Christmas, His plan sometimes looks nothing like what we have anticipated or hoped for, but we can rest knowing that His plan is indeed perfect.
Lord, quiet our hearts this holiday season. May we rejoice in what you have already done and make Christmas about you. Help us to put aside the anticipation of things and concentrate of you and the people around us. May this holiday season be the best one because we choose joy over stress. Thank you Father, Amen.