Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

One of my favorite Christmas movies is Christmas Vacation. It was a tradition to watch yearly while I was growing up and it continues to this day. Clark, the father, has made elaborate plans for a grand Griswold family Christmas and, near the beginning of the movie, his wife, Ellen, expresses her concern that Clark tends to build up his hopes and expectations only to be disappointed later on. In true wifely fashion, Ellen proves to be right as things go awry throughout the movie. Expectations are not only not met, but hopes are dashed. But it’s Hollywood, so all ends well in the end.

Expectations are a funny thing. While they give us hope, they can also cause grave disappointment if misplaced.

God’s people knew a thing or two about expectations. God created the world and declared it good and it lasted two chapters in the Bible. Two. And then all went awry. Adam and Eve listened to the snake, chose to sin and the perfection of their relationship with God was lost. But, God made a promise in Genesis 3:15 that someday He was going to send One who would give the story a happy ending. And so they waited.

And waited.

And waited.

They yearned for Him to come and set things right again.

And then He did. But not at all as they expected. God had whispered all throughout His people’s history truths about Messiah and, yet, their expectations were still a little off. The baby lay in a manger in a little town called Bethlehem. How could this be the answer to their prayers? The one they had great expectations for? He didn’t meet their expectations at all. He exceeded them. They thought they needed someone to turn around their political or financial situation, but He came to fill their deepest need and give them the opportunity for eternal security.

We’ve all come to this Christmas day from different angles. For some, this has been a restful year. For others, it’s been a year we’d never like to repeat ever. But we’ve all come with longing. Longing for something greater than what we can see. Longing for One who will fill our deepest needs. He came over 2000 years ago to do just that. And He lay in a manger in Bethlehem. It didn’t seem like much at the time, but it was exactly what each of us needed. He came to give us more than we could ever expect. Joy incarnate wrapped in swaddling clothes for you and for me. He’s our happy ending. Take a moment and read Luke 2:1-20.

“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”

Merry Christmas!

Pastor Ray Green & Family






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