Five years ago on Christmas Eve, my mother passed away. And for five years I have asked the Lord why she had to pass away on my favorite day of the year. But then this year on the last day of work before the holidays, a co-worker and friend asked me to stop by her classroom on my way home. As we were sharing I told her how much I love Christmas Eve. I love the excitement and joyful expectation more than Christmas Day itself. Then I told her about my mom’s passing and the questioning I have had all these years. At that point, she looked kindly into my face and said, “You know the answer. You have answered your own question as to why God took her home on Christmas Eve.”
I understood immediately and my eyes filled with tears. The Lord took Mom home on Christmas Eve-- my favorite day of the year-- because her passing represents the excitement and the expectation of knowing that I will see her once again. Like a child expectantly waiting to open Christmas gifts, I can wait expectantly knowing I will see both of my parents some day.
And then that same week while watching an old black and white movie together, Allegra uncharacteristically and nonchalantly said, “I am going to be baptized on Christmas Day.” I had to pause the movie, sit up, and ask her to repeat herself. I don’t know many churches that baptized on Christmas morning this year, but ours did, and for that we are grateful. It puts the holidays in perspective. Because of Jesus’ birth, life, death and resurrection we can have the hope and expectancy of living eternally with Him and with each other. First Peter 1:3 says that we are to live with great expectation because we have a priceless inheritance that is kept in heaven. The passage goes on to say that we should be glad. There is wonderful joy ahead even though we may have to endure many trials for a little while (NLT).
As a mother who has been “expectant” more than just a few times, I know the joy and dreams that go into waiting for a child to be born. The word “expectation” means to look forward to with anticipation. “Hope” and “trust” are synonyms. The problem with expectation is when we have an expectation of how we think God will answer our prayers. The problem with expectation is when we decide on what the result will be. And when the object of our expectation doesn’t happen the way we expected it to manifest, disappointment and despair often take the place of joy. Psalm 62:5 says “For my expectation is from Him” (
ASV). If we can remain like little children trusting that God has the best for us, we can live life expectantly with hope and joy. Our expectancy is in Him and from Him.
The Lord once told me that no matter how good things are, no matter how bad things might get, the best is yet to come. That is expectation. My prayer for this new year is that all of us will live life expectantly.