Have you ever been met with more cancellations and chaos in a single year? This might possibly feel like the longest year of our lives. We’ve experienced sheltering in place, added masks to our wardrobe, and learned how to keep a six-foot distance from our neighbor. We’ve also had to navigate canceled events and endure job losses because of a virus that has literally impacted the world. Experiencing all these unmet expectations can bring great disappointment, but what if they can also be a good thing?
In Luke 1, we learn about Jesus and His upcoming entrance into the world. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph when the angel of the Lord told her she was pregnant. Because she was a virgin, she was pretty confused. Also, there was hesitancy on Joseph’s part to follow through with the marriage because of what people would say. Despite it all, they married and became the earthly parents to the Savior of the world.
Imagine the unmet expectations they must have felt. Joseph was a respectable man in his community who discovered his fiancée was pregnant, and he wasn’t the father. Mary had probably been excited to become a wife and begin a family. Yet, she learned that the life inside of her would not just change her world but change the world. Through this experience, Joseph and Mary learned that sometimes our disrupted plans actually lead to the best plans, even if neither of them got to see the full extent of how their involvement played a major part in saving the world.
This year, maybe you were looking forward to a monumental event that had to be canceled, or perhaps the job you loved and devoted yourself to is no longer yours. But in the middle of our unmet expectations, we can still expect great things. We just have to change our focus in order to magnify what’s worth magnifying.
Sheltering-in-place provided richer family times.
Cancellations led to more innovative celebrations.
Job losses prompted more creative ideas for revenue.
As we bring 2020 to a close and usher in 2021, remember that our circumstances, good or bad, shouldn’t be dictators of our peace and hope. Yes, it’s been challenging to navigate relational, mental, emotional, financial, and spiritual waters. But when we challenge our viewpoint and see our unmet expectations as possibilities, we’ll experience the peace of Jesus. Because His peace, the kind that surpasses our understanding, is steady, always present, and readily available to us no matter what unexpectedly drops onto our paths.
Like Mary and Joseph, sometimes we experience unmet expectations. But we walk ahead anyway. Trusting, believing, and putting our hope in the God of great expectations.