This is a post that we probably need to hear as we deal with expectations surrounding the Christmas holidays.

Ah, the holidays.

It is a season of expectations.  The presence of more things to do than at any other time of the year and they need to be done well, the hope of finding just the right gift, the desire to have a pleasant gathering with family (unlike the last five years when Uncle George was rude to Aunt Myrtle), the insistence that the kids will be grateful as they open the presents . . .  etc etc etc.

I want a perfect Christmas, or at least a peaceful one.  I want a Christmas where people are thankful, where the kids help out in the kitchen, where the husband serves the family by cleaning up the post-present family room. I want not arguments, no conflicts, complete cooperation, meaningful conversation.  I want to be invited over to someone's home so we are not all by ourselves again this year in this new city.  I want the end to my loneliness.  I want my heart to be healed from the breaking of the marriage and the loss of the child.

I want, I want, I want.

What I want is such a wonderful season that the purpose of the birth of Christ is undone.  I want us to get our act together so there is no eed for a Savior.

But what if I got the Christmas I wanted?  I would not have the Christmas I needed?

What if, instead of expectations of sinless bliss and pain-free joyful gatherings, I expected the season to be filled with reminders that a Savior was needed.  When the kids squabble over who gets to play their game first, or the husband or wife acts disappointed with the gift we took so much time to select, or an argument breaks out at dinner, or Cousin Fred has too much to drink yet again . . . what if this year I said in my heart, "This much is clear, we need Him. He shall save his people from their sins."  Or how about this: "The best things this world can give will not satisfy as much the the One who is bread of life, who gave himself for my sin and satisfies me deeply."

If I got the Christmas I wanted I would not get the Christmas I needed.  The Savior is present in this season in the midst of the sin and disappointment -- he shows his wounded hands and side -- and bids us rejoice in Him.

(HT: The Gospel Driven Life)