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Merry Expectations

Dear Eleanor and Wesley,

This morning you rushed into our bedroom with two questions and just one thing on your mind. “Is it a weekend?!” and “Is it Christmas?!” The weekend part is easily explained. “Weekend” is your name for any day that I do not have to go to work. A workday means more waiting before the good stuff can start. Unfortunately it is not a weekend. The disappointment did not subdue your bright-eyed exuberance at the answer to the second question. It is indeed Christmas Eve. The day you have been pining for has finally arrived. Witnessing this kid-like waiting, full of youthful expectation, is quickly becoming my favorite part of the season.

Expectation is in my humble opinion, the epitome of childhood innocence. I’m talking about the intrinsic, undeniable, unrelenting enthusiasm that comes from yearning for something to be true and to be here now. That thing that makes your spine jitter and your knees bounce and your chest feel like it will burst if you were any more excited. Childhood expectation is like hope on urgency steroids. Adults are comfortable in living with their likely and unlikely hopes. Over time hope is worn like a warm blanket; a comfort through any number of rough patches. People need hope, but expectation is different. Expectation spurs action, movement and momentum. It burns with longing and dances with immediacy. Expectation does not rest nor is it forgotten until it is quenched.

I admire you. In a season devoted to longing, my longings are too easily diluted and diminished. Your fire is fresh and your excitement is contagious. But then again, you both are thrilled about the prize of a plastic doll or a toddler’s push cart. If your twenty year-old selves are still bent on Elsa and a radio flyer then something has gone terribly wrong. There must be some secret to growing up where new and better longings take root and fuel the fire. I suppose it is the bigger and better longings that inspired the need and necessitated the promise that put God on this earth as a tiny human. Expectation that families would not crippled by loss, broken relationships, or fraying connections. Longing that our twisted cultures would stop growing more twisted. Hope for peoples and nations who would abandon constant combat and strife. Deep desire that everyone would have a warm bed and a square meal. This is the type of expectation that He came into the world to fulfill. When I think about it, I can’t wait for the day the promise will be true and be here:

“No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found.”

‘Tis the season, so it’s worth finding the reason to get excited. Thanks for showing me how.

Merry Christmas,

Dad

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