Merry Christmas, Clark!

During the holiday season our expectations of how we want things to be are often really high. These feelings can be based off of how we want our homes to look a certain way or even how a meal should be executed. Regardless of the circumstance, we’ve all been there.

As I reflected on expectations, I found myself considering the story of Clark Griswald from Christmas Vacation. Although certainly focused on Christmas, the driving force of the movie is Clark’s constant chasing of his expectations of how things should go. This is evident in the massive tree that he cuts down, to the excessive exterior illumination, and even the prayer at his family Christmas dinner. In all of this, Clark attempts to proceed even when things don’t go his way.

Often, when our expectations in life are not met, we get frustrated or remove ourselves from said situations. However, in doing this, we allow our expectations to shape our experiences. What we should be doing is allowing our attitudes to enhance our experiences.

In Luke 1, the reader is introduced to a young virgin named Mary. We are not given a lot of details about her but we know that she is “pledged” to be married to man named Joseph. This “pledge” term is a good indicator to understanding Mary’s expectations of how her life would progress. It means that Mary is engaged for a full year before officially joining Joseph’s house. In this year, she would have likely begun to learn the various aspects of being a wife in this day and age. However, all of this changes when Mary encounters the angel Gabriel. He informs her that her life will change forever because she will carry the Messiah.

Instead of rejecting this or running away, the text tells us that Mary responds, “I am the Lord’s servant, may your word to me be fulfilled.” (Luke 1:38) I think there is a lesson to be learned from Mary concerning expectations. Instead of becoming angry that her life would not look like how she wanted it, Mary realizes that although her expectations may no longer happen, God is in control. And when God is in control of our lives, he can do amazing things.

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