We say that Christmas is a time of expectation. Once, Mary was waiting for her child to be born. Some religious folks were waiting for a messiah figure. Today, children are waiting to finally tear open the shiny paper and throw aside the colorful bows of the packages they’ve been gazing at under the tree.
It is a time of waiting yes, but Christmas Eve really is a time of expectation.
It’s a funny word isn’t it? Expect. Expecting. Expectation. All ways to express the myriad of emotions, some happy and some worried, some sad and some relieved, that an event can have in our hearts.
Today is Christmas Eve and we who celebrate it in whatever fashion, are waiting in expectation for the celebrating part to finally begin.
Christmas has always been a time of great expectation for me. As a child, I hated that 2 week break from school. I grew up as a farm kid so Christmas break was not a time of lazing about in pajamas and playing board games. Instead, since I was home, I was expected to help out more around the farm. Instead of just my nightly chores, I was expected to help my dad with his morning chores as well. For me, it was two weeks of numb toes and fingers too early in the morning as I helped my dad feed the various beasts of burden. One year I grumbled about having to leave my presents unwrapped under the tree as I wrapped my scarf one more time around my neck.
“It’s Christmas for the animals too.” My Dad’s voice rumbled across the frosty morning, his breath wreathing about his head.
Out in the barns and the fields, the animals were waiting with great expectations as well.
I’ve had many Christmas Eves and Christmas mornings. For the most part, they’ve all been good. Perhaps not quite as great as my expectations might have made me crave, but good enough to remind me of my many blessings. However, the one that will always top the list occurred not at home with my family, but thousands of miles away in a tiny English village.
Sometimes the greatest expectation is to be pleasantly surprised by an experience that makes you see your life in a new way.
“Here,” she gestured. “Try this,” and I opened my mouth. The chocolate landed on my tongue and began to melt. It was unlike anything I’d ever tasted. It reminded me of the carob chips foisted upon me during my mother’s hippy stage. It was also a bit like the Hershey’s Special Dark miniatures I always traded for my sister’s Mr. Goodbars at Halloween. But this chocolate was definitely a distant cousin to the more familiar wrapped in silver or covering a mixture of peanuts, caramel, and nougat. I was in heaven. (Continue reading here.)
May today be a day of great expectations to you, regardless of what you do and who you do it with…may you live today with exuberance and joy!