There’s a notion that goes something like this: no expectations, no disappointment. Eric Camden said it one time on 7th Heaven (which is the most unrealistic family show that there is—is there even a family show that exists that doesn’t fantasize something? The trick to watching anything on any screen is to remember that it’s all a form of escape, expression, or entertainment. That’s all! The shows that have briefly traipsed into the territory of being more real than not are shows that usually don’t last that long because people don’t want to watch a repeat of what they are already going through. If we’re going to spend time watching something on TV, we want it to be something other than what we are living. So I get it. To expect the TV viewing experience to have deep meaning is perhaps a misguided expectation. Speaking of expectations.).
So the idea of “no expectations, no disappointment” applies to TV as well as life, but I have a thought that perhaps makes all of that null and void anyway. The Christmas season is about the fulfillment of a hope and a long-awaited expectation. If we participate in “no expectations, no disappointment,” then we aren’t really following a faith-filled framework for living. But I get it, truly. I think I might be speaking to something else entirely. To have no expectations helps us to take life in as-is bites. It’s a really healthy way to operate after having, for so many years, only ever lived in fantasy land where we are living only in our heads and not in real life. So the no-expectations thing helps us to stay grounded and connected to what is, not what we would prefer or what we wish would be reality.
The “hope” part of the Christmas season, though, is about receiving our promised Savior and knowing that everything from here on out is going to be okay. Because we have Jesus, we have peace. Our hope in him is a weighted one, a hope that isn’t based on wishful thinking or fantasies but on truth and justice. This Christmas, then, let there be hope in our heart and hope in our step and hope in our smile and hope in our conversation. I surmise that this is a little different than merely having expectations (or not having them). This is about resting. Resting in the arms of our Shepherd who always takes good care of us as he helps us to take good care of our families.