When Christmas Comes Wrapped in Expectations
Christmas often comes wrapped in expectations, doesn’t it?
Let there be snow.
Let us all be home for Christmas.
Let the table be loaded down with all the family favorites … whatever those favorites may be for you and yours.
Let that longed for gift be waiting under the tree.
In other words, may Christmas this year be the most wonderful time of the year!
And sometimes, Christmas meets our expectations … maybe even exceeds them … and sometimes, Christmas doesn’t.
Long, long ago in a time faraway, my family was a military family stationed in Turkey. We spent not one, but two Christmases overseas in a predominately Muslim country. The nationals made concessions to the Americans living there, selling pairs of tiny handcrafted mittens that we hung on our Christmas trees, along with beautifully elaborate carved copper ornaments, unlike any you’d find in a stateside department store.
The second year we were stationed in Turkey, my physician-husband had to work from Christmas evening to the following morning in the emergency room. I didn’t want to tuck our three young children into bed that night without their dad there to read them stories and to pray over them and to share memories of the day with them. So Rob and I devised a plan – one that diverged from our usual tradition of Christmas night relaxing at home.
Rob and I dressed our 6-year-old son, and 3-year-old and 18-month-old daughters in their PJs, and drove the short distance to the base hospital. Once there, we unfolded an inflatable mattress in Rob’s small office and filled it with air, much to our children’s glee. Then we all bedded down in my husband’s office for the night, with Rob ready to answer the call of his pager whenever a patient needed him.
Was it the Christmas night we’d come to expect? No. But was it a memory-in-the-making? Choosing to be a family together, even if togetherness meant camping out in a military hospital for the night? Yes.
And wasn’t that first Christmas all about changing expectations, too? A virgin giving birth? The savior of the world, arriving as a helpless infant? Immanuel, God with us – instead of God standing distant, separated from us by the Law? (Isaiah 7:14-17)
Today I’m wishing you a gloriously Merry Christmas, one where your expectations are surprised … overturned … by the unexpected.
Somebody Like You, was one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Best Books of 2014. In 2015 she introduced her destination wedding series with both an e-novella, Can’t Buy Me Love (May) and a novel, Crazy Little Thing Called Love (June). Connect with Beth at bethvogt.com.