Exceeding Expectations - Jeremy Thom

Merry Christmas! We hope and pray that you were able to enjoy and appreciate the Christmas holiday. And we are praying that you will continue to reflect upon what it means that Christ has come as the Light of the World through the Christmas season.

If you haven’t heard yet, I love the Christmas season. The lights, the get-togethers, the birth celebration, all the stuff. I’m okay with us going a little over-the-top to celebrate this miraculous event. But I will admit that I often wonder if I have it a little backwards.

See, the Christmas story is really only told once in the Gospels. And we actually have to piece together the details as different aspects of the story are told in Matthew and Luke, while Mark and John aren’t even concerned with this event.

The story of Jesus’ birth is an amazing and miraculous story, but many times we experience the Christmas season and then enter the new year only to have our hopes, dreams, or expectations “come down to earth”. We tend to start the yearly cycle over and lose interest in where this Jesus story is going as we return to the normal routines of life, counting down the days till next Christmas. It’s amazing to me how quickly I can lose interest in the Jesus story, even though I know what’s coming…

All four of the Gospel writers tell us the story of Christ’s death and resurrection. Which tells us that this part of the story is a bigger deal than Jesus’ birth. And yet, I often find myself wandering from this exciting story rather than having greater expectations of the story God is creating in my life because of the way the resurrection story has truly changed everything. So often my life reflects the many books I’ve started reading but never finished, the television series I’ve started that turned into a nap opportunity, or even the movies that lost my interest within minutes…..I don’t want this to be my story as we come out of another Christmas Season.

So how do we not have a Christmas letdown? How do we not celebrate Jesus’ birth only to push the Savior’s story to the side with the resetting of our Christmas countdown calendar?

This season, I’ve found myself thinking a lot about the Magi’s question when they spoke to King Herod in Jerusalem, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”(Matt. 2:1-2)

What a great question…and declaration. The Magi recognize that the one they are looking for is a king. In fact, they believe this so strongly that they are willing to ask this question in front of another king, a king who quickly gets jealous and begins to plot evil. But not only does this question from the Magi add great significance to the story of the birth of Jesus, but the more I read this part of the story, the more I find myself asking this question, and making this declaration, each day….where is the one born king of the Jews? I have seen his “star” and have come to worship him.

It’s easy to have a Christmas letdown because we limit ourselves to only seeing Jesus in the big events, the over-the-top miraculous moments. We often forget that the big events in Jesus’ life shows us that he is also capable of being in the little, daily, mundane moments of our lives. In fact, not only is our savior capable of both big and little things, but he actually desires to walk with us through the big and small moments of life. We should expect to see him in all these moments because he is with us.

As we prepare to enter a new year, let’s begin to expect greater things from our Lord because He has done, and continues to do, great things. It’s not bad to set some goals, maybe achieve some new dreams, but it’s better to fix our eyes on God. Let’s ask the Holy Spirit, “ where is Jesus? I have seen evidence of Christ, He has changed my life. But help me to see Him in the everyday, normal, mundane things. In the big things and small things. Help me to elevate my expectations and join my savior in the daily, hope-filled, celebrations!”

Our King has been born.
Our King was crucified, but is alive today.
Our King is still with us, desiring to exceed our expectations.

May you search for, and see Jesus a little more each day this year, and may you share God’s story as He continues to write yours.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Jeremy Thom
Campus Pastor | Hope City Church