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What The First Christmas Teaches Us About Expectations

What are you expecting for Christmas? That’s one of those questions that’s pregnant with possibilities. Kids hear the question and think about gifts. Parents, whose grown up kids live far away, think about the precious time they’ll spend with family. A store owner expects to sell all that extra inventory she stocked up on for the season.

store shelves - expectations

Let’s go back in time and look at the first Christmas. Of course Mary and Joseph and all the other characters in the story didn’t know it was Christmas. It was just life. So even though the story revolved around them, they were just normal people like you and me, living their lives, facing the challenges of unexpected events.

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Two Unexpected Expectations

There are two people in the Christmas story I want to highlight who had expectations they didn’t expect to have, Mary and Elizabeth.

  1. Mary, the mother of Jesus. She was a virgin and was blessed to be chosen by God the Father as the mother of the promised Messiah Luke 1:26-38. Every Jewish woman wanted to be the mother of the Messiah but it’s unlikely she expected it would happen as it did. I don’t think any Jewish woman imagined how it would happen. They all just wanted to be the mother of the Messiah. The unexpected way it happened complicated Mary’s life.
  2. Elizabeth, Mary’s older cousin. Months before Zechariah, her husband, was visited by the angel Gabriel. He told Zechariah that although they were advanced in years he and Elizabeth would have a child Luke 1:7, 13. The baby would be filled with the Holy Spirit while still in the womb and throughout his life would turn many to God.

Mary and Elizabeth were both unexpectedly blessed by God. Humanly speaking both of their pregnancies were impossible. But they happened. Here are three lessons we can take from what the Father did in blessing these two women in unexpected ways.

Three Lessons about Expectations:

  • Don’t give up on seeking what you want from God! Elizabeth and Zechariah experienced the joy of parenting when it was humanly impossible.
  • Don’t be surprised if God gives you what you desire in a different way from what you expect. With Elizabeth it was later than she expected. With Mary it was sooner than she expected, before she was married.
  • Don’t think that when you get your blessing everything will be perfect. Every Jewish woman desired to be the mother of the King of Kings. But Mary was an unwed mother, probably viewed with contempt. Her peers didn’t see her for what she was, the mother of the Son of God.

[Tweet “God’s greatest blessings often aren’t like what we imagined!”]

This Christmastime keep earnestly seeking God’s blessings! And when you get them don’t forget to praise Him!

How has God blessed in a way you didn’t imagine? Please leave a comment or question below. If this has touched your heart, please share it.

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Ward Cushman

My journey of faith started when I was nine years old when I realized that Jesus died and rose again to pay for my sins. At the age of thirteen I felt the call of God on my life for ministry.

I have been fortunate to work in the marketplace for over ten years and in full-time Christian ministry for over thirty years.

My passion is to teach God's Word in such a way that it is easy to understand and so that God uses it to bring about life change in those who hear it.

It is my greatest joy to see God work through me to produce fruit for His glory!