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Expecting JOY.

Expectations are high during the Christmas season, as they should be, but often we are expecting the wrong things. We dream of quiet moments with our family full of love and harmony, we want our gifts to be received with excitement, we expect parties to go as planned, and that surely this year we will finally have the perfect Christmas. Rarely do these things happen as we expect!

Luke 2:10 tells us we are to expect Joy as we celebrate the birth of our Savior, not stress, strife, and exhaustion.

Often we fill our days so full of preparations, planning, and yes expectations, that we have a hard time experiencing the Joy of the Season or having a joyful heart. We juggle schedules, trying to get to every family function, often experiencing little joy or rest as we rush from one home to another. We spend hours trying to find the perfect gift only to not have it well received. You plan the perfect menu for 20 only to have the cat eat part of the turkey while thawing. You feel like your perfect Christmas is quickly turning into a Griswold Christmas. We focus on what we think others expect of us and what we expect of ourselves instead of focusing on what God expects of us, to rejoice in the gift of His son.

When we put our expectations on these things, we will often be disappointed. It is when we look to the Christmas season with the expectation of the greatest gift of all is when we will experience joy. When we expect to find Christ in each and every moment, when we expect to be filled with the joy of the birth of our Savior then our expectations will be met and exceeded. The angel brought good news of great joy for all people, that includes us, a Savior was born. Luke 2:10 tells us we are to expect Joy as we celebrate the birth of our Savior, not stress, strife, and exhaustion.

There is joy all around us, we just have to be expecting it and looking for it. We learn not to focus on what we think others expect of us and seek the joy that is always present. When tensions start to rise at family gatherings, sit everyone down and read Luke 2. When everyone is exhausted and going to the next get together seems excruciating, don't go. When the gift isn't appreciated, rejoice in the fact that you were able to give and remember there have been times when we have not appreciated God's great gift as much as we should. When the cat eats part of the turkey, cut off the eaten part and cook it, the story will provide laughter for years!

As we begin the Christmas Season set your expectations high, but not for what the world expects of you, expect the great joy that the angel spoke about. Good news of great Joy is all around us just waiting for us to experience. Remember joy is there in each moment, both the good and the bad, waiting for us to embrace it. Expect joy and you will find it!

Luke‬ ‭2‬:‭10‬ NIV

10 But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy for all the people.

JODI HENDRICKS IS A LONG-TIME MEMBER OF FARMINGTON UNITED METHODIST CHURCH. SHE TEACHES ADULT AND YOUTH BIBLE CLASSES. THE OPINIONS EXPRESSED ARE THOSE OF THE AUTHOR.

Religion on 12/05/2018

Print Headline: What Are You Focusing On This Christmas? Expect Great Joy

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