Sadly, however, our consumer culture is full of expectation rather than expectancy. We ask God to intervene, we look for God’s to respond to our prayer to change something, we want God to right the wrongs, and make life easier or better for us. But rather than waiting on God to respond according to his plan, we are tempted to develop expectations of how God should and will act.
We dream of our preferred outcome according to our likes and preferences and we subtly start to expect God act accordingly. The result is only ever disappointment and disillusionment. God is never bound by human agendas.
Advent is a time to remind ourselves that we wait for God in expectancy rather than with expectations. We wait with open hearts and open minds rather than having them focused on our preferred premeditated outcomes. The goal is to rouse expectancy not raise expectations.
“Advent is about making the space and time to allow God to fill our hearts and lives with hope
Rather than planning, working and willing our preferred future into existence, Advent is about making the space and time to allow God to fill our hearts and lives with hope. It is a time of release from the burden of our expectancies into the freedom of being alert, awake and ready for God’s action, whatever that may be. It is about learning again to be present in the moment, attentive in the here and now, rather than peering off into the future to some imagined future built according to our plans.
When Christmas finally does come, and we celebrate the birth of Jesus we are reminded the focus is not on the fulfilment of our expectations, but about God fulfilling his. Advent is the preparation of our hearts to accept God’s will for the world, not ours.
And then, as we lay down our expectations and open our hearts to God we are again confronted with the reality of God’s love and care for us. God became and experienced what it is to be human being, willing underwent suffering and death all in a demonstration that he has not given up on humanity.
Christmas is less than two weeks away. During this time may we as individuals and a church give time and space for God to act according to his plans. May our hearts be full of expectancy rather than expectation.
Stephen L Baxter