Navigating life through the midst of our own expectations can get interesting really quickly. For some reason I expect Advent to be a peaceful time, a time of cozy silence, unhurried preparation, contemplative baking. I always have visions of a perfectly decorated, unchaotic, Hallmark-movie Christmas.
Yet I'm the mom to five kids who go in different directions on any given day and even more directions during the excitement of Christmas activities—which always happen during Advent.
You probably have expectations for your spiritual life this Advent. Maybe you're expecting major answers to prayer, maybe you're expecting relief from long-held suffering, maybe you're expecting tangible signs of growth in holiness. I hope for all those things, too. But I bet you're like me and expect these things to come gently, painlessly, and beautifully, like wrapped-up packages of grace and answered prayer.
The nation of Israel may have had such sentimental, Christmas-card expectations for the Savior too, but the words of the prophet Isaiah talk an awful lot about blood and searing judgement before the luster and glory will happen. (See Isaiah 2:4-6.)
It's hard to stick around when our expectations are one thing, but the reality of how the Lord works is another. Most of the Israelites expected the Messiah to come in splendor and free them from their physical oppressors, completely missing the spiritual meaning of these prophecies.
Our faith may be tested this Advent beyond the filtered expectations we have for ourselves and our lives. But true faith, faith that comes from humility, is what God wants us to grow in this Advent.
It's a faith that is open to God entering under our roof and working whatever He wants for us. (See Matthew 8:8.)
This short clip explains the changes to the English translation of prayer, "Lord, I am not worthy to receive You."
Christy Isinger is a wife and mom to five lovely, loud children and lives in northern Canada. When not homeschooling, she is a devoted reader of English literature from Jane Austen to Agatha Christie. She writes about the beauty of faith, life, and the home at her blog and is the co-host of the Fountains of Carrots Podcast. She is the author of our Blessed Conversations: The Ten Commandments study found here. You can find out more about her here.