Dear friends in Fallbrook,
“Manage your expectations.”
That’s the conventional strategy for minimizing disappointment. Excited about that new movie next month? Well, don’t get too excited lest you be disappointed. Anticipating new possibilities at work? Well, don’t get too excited lest you be disappointed. Looking forward to that big trip next summer? Well, don’t get too excited lest you be disappointed.
What about Christmas? Are your expectations managed?
In one sense, we expect a lot from Christmas. We want the season to be filled with love and laughter. We want to find the perfect gift for a child or spouse. We want to put our best foot forward at dinners and parties. We want this final month of the year to soothe the frustrations and turmoil of the previous eleven.
But in another sense, we don’t expect nearly enough from Christmas. Maybe we only want Jesus to round out our life with some timely blessings or coach us along with some useful rules for the good life. Maybe we just want to get that once-a-year trip to church over with.
This Sunday we begin the season of the Church Year known as Advent. It's a time of year when we prepare our hearts not only for Jesus' coming at Christmas, but for his second coming on the last day. And during this series we're going to learn that God suggests we do just the opposite of what conventional wisdom suggests. In the centuries leading up to the first Christmas, God revealed the truth about the coming Messiah. During the process, he taught his people to raise their expectations for this Messiah and what he would do. That's what God will teach us in this series. Don’t manage your expectations. Raise them. If Christmas has disappointed you in the past, maybe it's not because you've expected too much. Maybe it's because you've expected too little. Serving in Christ,
Conventional wisdom suggests that, in order to avoid disappointment, we ought to expect less out of Christmas. God suggests just the opposite. In the centuries leading up to the first Christmas, God revealed the truth about the coming Messiah and taught his people to raise their expectations for his work. If Christmas has disappointed you in the past, maybe it's not because you've expected too much. Maybe it's because you've expected too little.
- Ask More
December 3, 2017
Many people are comfortable asking Jesus to round out their lives with some timely blessings. Fewer will ask him to reorder their lives. Yet the advent call of Christ is that we ask more of him—that he do nothing less than save us.
- Prepare More
December 10, 2017
Many people are content with measuring up to moral rules of their own invention. Fewer will accept the rigors of genuine excellence in the kingdom of the coming Christ. Yet the advent call of Christ is to prepare more for Jesus—by raising every valley and leveling every mountain.
- Produce More
December 17, 2017
Many people frantically strive to acquire the blessings and benefits promised by Christianity. Fewer will accept that genuine fruit requires more than human effort. Yet the advent call of Christ is to produce more through Jesus—by rooting ourselves in the soil of his righteousness.
- Receive More
December 24, 2017
Many people want a cozy, comfortable message of generic warm feelings at Christmas. Fewer realize the radical new hope that Christmas brings for a human race so clearly in need of rescue from itself. Yet the birth of Jesus is delivers the peace that comes from having God with us—not against us.