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The Truth About Bad Hallmark Movies, High Expectations, & an Imperfect Christmas

We walk into this season expecting a whole lot. Expecting our lives to really look like the Christmas cards we send.

And maybe they do at times. Don’t get me wrong. There are beautiful moments to be had this season. Watching children and grandchildren light up the room with their belief in Christmas magic. Invitations to Christmas parties with friends and loved ones. New love, and new babies, and first Christmases spent together. And singing — oh, the singing! It is indeed a beautiful, heart-warming, fuzzy, cheesy, gloriously happy time of year in certain moments.

But in the moments when it’s not, how do we survive? And what do we do when the lights go out, the decorations are packed, and we’re left again with the bare and empty walls we started with? How do we move past our expectations when another year passes and they just aren’t entirely met?

May I submit a possibility that we are expecting the wrong things. Maybe we need to expect something else.

You see, the truth is, Jesus Himself told us we would have trouble here. And there wasn’t a caveat in that verse that told us we’d get a break at Christmas. We don’t. Life at this time of year is covered in a little more glitter, a little more light, a little more cheer, and charity, but it is still life. There are still parts that hurt. There are parts that cannot be wrapped up in a neat, Hallmark Christmas bow. There are questions still unanswered. Problems still unsolved. Wounds still opened and not quite healed.

But what if we changed our expectations? What if, instead of expecting a perfect Christmas, we expected a perfect Savior? What if we took time to open our hearts and “prepare Him room”? To expect Him to show up in our lives? To expect Him to be enough for us? Because He is enough for us. Our world may not be commercially classified as merry and bright this season, but we can be sure that the Prince of Peace Himself has arrived and brought us freedom from our strife. That is cause enough for celebration. An expectation sure to be fulfilled and in Jesus, already met.

“But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:10-12)

One thing we have that the shepherds didn’t that night is a view of the cross from the manger. When you look into the face of the infant Divine this Christmas, you will find a Savior. You will find a King that has conquered death. You will find a Messiah, a Deliverer, who has far exceeded “all we could ever ask or imagine” (Eph. 3:20).

Rather than hanging all our hopes on how this Christmas will meet our needs and expectations, may we instead look at Jesus, who is the final Word on all we could ever hope for. He is the healing of our heartbreak. The new song of redemption we sing. The reason we celebrate. The restoration of our broken narrative. The joy declared to all the world.

May we turn our faces to the manger and expect with certainty to see our Savior, Jesus.

“One thing I want my soul to remember and I want your soul to know is that life isn’t always good; humans aren’t always good; but God is good. Always.”

Amena Brown, Broken Records

Elizabeth Brock
Elizabeth Brock
Elizabeth Brock lives in Nashville and works in the music industry. She loves Jesus, she loves people, and she writes because words pile up in her heart and they eventually have to come out. She would love for you to check out her website and follow her on Instagram, where she sometimes shares valuable stories about trips to Whole Foods and weird things she finds in airports.

How a Popcorn Kernel Nearly Cost 41-Year-Old Adam Martin His Life

Discover the harrowing story of Adam Martin, a 41-year-old firefighter, whose life-threatening infection from a popcorn kernel stuck in his tooth led to open-heart surgery. Learn about the importance of dental health and timely medical care.

This Hospital Dance Party Between a Baby Cardiac Patient and His Amazing Pediatric Tech Will Melt Your Heart

Prepare to be moved by the incredible story of Blake Sheffer, a baby cardiac patient, and his dedicated pediatric technician who dance together daily in the hospital. Their joyous dance parties bring hope, laughter, and resilience to Blake's recovery journey.

Tinder Couple Who Exchanged Messages for 3 Years Finally Meets on ‘Good Morning America’

Discover the heartwarming story of Josh Avsec and Michelle Arendas, a Tinder couple whose three-year-long message exchange went viral, leading to their first meeting on 'Good Morning America.'