Great Christmas Expectations

Years ago, I took my toddler and infant to see Santa. I expected a fairy tale memory and a frame worthy picture from it all. After waiting in a horrendously long line, it was finally our turn to walk up to the jolly old guy. I had one child hanging on my leg crying and the other on my hip refusing to be placed in the stroller. I had no free hands to push the stroller or hike my sliding purse back up to my forearm. It was a scene straight out of a zoo exhibit with other Moms practically watching the whole thing unfold with their noses pressed against the glass. None of them offered to help. As I was trying to push and steer the stroller with an elbow, someone finally came to my rescue on the long red carpet. Santa himself rose up, stepped down off his throne, walked toward me, and met me where I was. As he reached for the stroller, my purse fell, and all the contents scattered in opposite directions. A baby bottle went rolling to the right and lipstick went rolling to the left. Santa (Bless his heart) chased after them all and put my purse back together again. Awkward.


Thankfully, my sense of humor trumped embarrassment, and I chuckled past the other Mothers giving me judgmental looks. Clearly they were perfect, their children don’t always smell like mustard, and they have more than two hands to juggle life. Good for them. I would have happily refunded their zoo admission, but I wasn’t sure which pocket Santa had crammed my wallet into. Alas, we ended up with a mediocre Christmas picture with Santa and a lesson for me to set low expectations for the future years.


This week, our five year old informed us he wants a television for his bedroom for Christmas. Our three year old wants a bounce house. Neither is going to happen. I handed out tickets to the “Let’s set realistic expectations” show this week. The reviews were gasps and blank looks of shock. What? I want a 24-hour a day/365 days a year live-in maid for Christmas. That’s not happening either. I’ll get over it. So will they.


Christmas isn’t about gifts. It isn’t about pictures with a kind old man in a red suit with a white beard. It isn’t about the show we may be putting on for others to see. It’s about The King of Kings stepping down from His throne, coming our direction, and meeting us where we are. It’s about the Son of God coming to us as a baby in a manger. Why? So He could help us on our way. So He could pick up the pieces of our lives that get scattered in every direction. So He could rescue us in every way possible.


The Christmas party could be a disaster. Your Christmas casserole might go up in flames. Family dysfunction might just make you feel like you are in a zoo. Your Christmas wish list may get nothing checked off. Your picture perfect Christmas may come up short of your expectations. The things of this world will disappoint us. But when it comes to the Wonderful Counselor, All Mighty God, we can set our expectations high. He does not disappoint. Keep your focus on Him.


May your expectations of this season be realistic. May your expectations for Him be high. May you see Him at work today and throughout this Christmas season.


Photo Credit Chelsea Francis


  1. Beth. I’m using this as my Christmas reading before opening gifts this year. You have such a blessed heart and I’m so proud of you.


  2. Love this! Thanks for making me feel normal! Susan Mead had to remind me this week that in our MESSES is where our Messiah meets us!! Merry Christmas!


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