When my oldest son, Tyler, was 3 years old I dressed him up as a hobo with make-up, but no mask to trick or treat . I decided that make-up would be less scary to him than a mask. It was his first trick or treat and I was so excited! So I got him all ready to go and then turned him around so he could look at himself in the bathroom mirror, where he promptly vomited. So much for not scaring him. I later learned from our pediatrician that when he looked in the mirror and didn’t see what he expected it literally scared him sick.
A couple of years ago my husband called to order a pizza from Pizza Hut. When he called they said, “We’re sorry, we are out of dough, can I get you something else?” Um, no thanks. When you call Pizza Hut you expect that you will be able to order pizza.
Expectations . . . . Sometimes we don’t even think about expectations. When I wake up in the morning I expect my house to be a comfortable temperature, food to eat and I expect my car to get me to work. Tyler expected to see his normal reflection and we expected a pizza place to have pizza.
Other times we do think about our expectations. At Christmas I expect our house to be decked out with lights, greenery, bells, snow globes, candles and more. Everywhere, really everywhere. I expect that we will have a tree in every room and I expect to have a thousand twinkling lights outside.
The Israelites were expecting a savior. The prophets had foretold His coming for hundreds of years. He would come as a baby born to a virgin in Bethlehem.
“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and we will call him Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” Micah 5:2
They knew He was coming. The even celebrated it. Yet, when He came they weren’t expecting it as it happened. This savior would be born of a virgin, that part was expected, and perhaps they thought that the miracle of a virgin birth would be so big that it would be announced to the whole world in a mighty way that no one could miss. You know, like maybe the appearance of an angel.
Yet God chose to only tell the lowly shepherds about the birth of Jesus through the angel. This fits perfectly with the humble beginnings of a helpless baby forced to be born in a stable. It also fits the life Jesus would live; a humble, homeless servant.
Hindsight is 20/20 and we have the opportunity to see the whole picture. As we look at the prophecies after we know who Jesus was and that He died to save us, it all makes perfect sense.
For the Israelites, knowing that the Messiah would be from the line of David, the expectation was for a warrior like David. It would certainly make sense while they were waiting. While there were many prophesies telling us that the savior would be humble and would die to save us, there was that underlying assumption of a great king, and they were human.
Even today we have the complete bible at our fingertips to understand and we don’t always agree on the context or we read something and say wait, I never thought of it like that. Sometimes we pick a scripture and try to make it fit in our own story and we expect that to work.
What a blessing it is that God has no expectations because He just knows. He knows our purpose, he knows the choices we will make and He knows exactly what is going to happen. Just like He knew that Jesus would be a king of eternity, a savior to those who believe in Him and a servant to all.
It was perfect! And He will make your life perfect in His time. Maybe not the perfect you expect. Because really, who would have thought the chaos of a young pregnant woman traveling to Bethlehem only to have her baby in a stable would lead to the Messiah?
Rest in his perfect plan for you. Read His word and listen for His voice. The chaos you feel today will lead you to His perfect plan, the one He chose for you.