Expectations. There are plenty of expectations all year long – but turn the calendar to December and the expectations automatically go to a whole new level. Our own expectations. Those of family and friends. Even co-workers, neighbors and that bell-ringer giving his time who certainly expects you to give in return. Many expectations can drain us and even threaten to steal all our Christmas joy. But some expectations – often seen as anticipations – are exciting and bring much joy. (Oh, think of a child’s holiday expectation!) And, of course, there is Jesus. The “long-expected Jesus.”
Come, thou long expected Jesus,
born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us,
let us find our rest in thee.
All of these thoughts came to mind as I considered this Friday’s prompt. So many expectations during the holidays. And, indeed, keeping my heart fixed and focused on Christ in the coming weeks will help to manage – and put in perspective – all the other expectations. But I also had one other thought…not specifically holiday-related. These are my five-minute thoughts.
GO. “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:33 This was part of Jesus’ teaching about discipleship. The meaning of – and the cost for -following Him. He is very straightforward about His expectation. He expects commitment and dedication from those who would be his disciples. Whole-heartedly following Jesus has always involved sacrifice. A cost. Just as they did during Christ’s day, many try to find “loopholes” or other qualifying excuses to lessen the burden and/or lower the cost. However, our savior’s expectations are high. Yes, there are blessings. The joy, the reward, and all that is ours in exchange are real and unimaginable. But we would be remiss not to consider the cost.
STOP. It took me far longer to formulate those thoughts than I imagined. So, just a short paragraph. However, I don’t want to end on a somber, or even sour, note. Yes, consider the cost but not so much as to decide “is it worth it?” but more as a reminder. A reminder of His ultimate sacrifice and, as well, a reflection on all that means for us – which puts any sacrifice on our part in perspective. Perspective is powerful…not only during the holidays but every day.
I will close with my favorite Bible verse – and great promise. “….I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10b The reward for whole-hearted commitment? Life more abundantly!!