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Certain Expectations


As I write this blog post, I am glancing over at my brightly-lit Christmas tree. Not large by most standards, only six feet tall, it has a good shape and a good balance of branches to accommodate the ornaments I’ve collected over the years. I have my eye on some new ones too. This year’s tree is bigger than last years, so these will be classic, round ornaments, fillers so to speak. I wanted to give myself something a bit more special this year and am satisfied with my choices. I also love walking through my neighborhood and seeing how people have decorated the outside of their homes with beautiful, simple lights. Expecting to see these always brings me joy.

Image courtesy of Bob Ricca on Unsplash.

We expect certain things at this time of year, perhaps more than any other. Perhaps this year, even more. We’ve been living on the edge of our memories and anticipation of the future for what feels like a very long time, and we are ready for more. We are ready for our Christmas miracle.

But it is still Advent, the time of preparation for the coming of a new baby, for God’s own to become one of us, to teach us what it means to live God’s love. We have some work to do to get ready for our miracle.

We expect certain things of ourselves this time of year, perhaps more than any other. Perhaps this year, even more. We are ready to step back into our traditions: baking; caroling; candle wrapping; decorating; gift shopping; gathering together; star gazing. We are ready to put all the things in place we love best that help us move into the Great Mystery of a God who chooses to be with us in human form.

Photo courtesy of Myriam Zilles on Unsplash.

We can’t imagine the holiday season without them, yet we lived without most of them last year. Rightly so, as we’ve tasted small bits of the goodness we crave, we want our lives back. While these traditions may have felt like pressures more so than pleasures in the past, we are ready to reclaim them as joyous delights.

While we expect these special things that make preparing for and celebrating Christmas to continue unabated forever, there is another question to consider: What do we expect from God today and through this holy season?

Israel set a pretty high bar: consolation from its grief and salvation from the hands of those who hated them, living to serve God without fear. That would be my vision of the biggest present under the tree, although you and I know such wonders don’t fit into any size box. God’s power to heal and transform anything can’t be contained into any space or time.  Knowing that is important as you consider today this question: What do I expect from God this Advent season and, even more so, for my life?

About the author

Photo of the author. Provided by Rev. Cory L. Kemp

Photo of the author. Provided by Rev. Cory L. Kemp

The Rev. Cory L. Kemp is founder and faith mentor with Broad Plains Faith Coaching. Cory, employing her signature Handcrafted Faith program, supports ordained and lay women leaders in visualizing, understanding and strengthening their beliefs, so that they may know, love and serve God and their communities with generosity, wisdom, and joy.

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