Alyssa Sellers

So This Is Christmas

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Pioneer Square ~ December 7, 2011

I entered corporate America through a coordinator position in the Human Resources department of a call center. It was as cog-like as it sounds. Although, I did work with some really great people so it wasn’t all that bad. Shockingly, one of the treasures I took away from that season of my life, aside from some unbelievable stories, was a corporate practice: set and manage expectations. I’ve come to realize that most of my disappointments are from misguided personal expectations, not because of actual poor results.

When I think about it, improper expectations seem to be the story of a lot of lives. The serpent got to Eve through misguided expectations, “He won’t actually kill you…” and the whole Christmas situation is another incredible example.  Jesus’s arrival on the scene is NOT how scholars expected the salvation of the world to come. They expected a fearsome warrior, not a helpless baby born in a barn to some poor worker hailing from the backwater of Galilee.

Proper punctuation.
Improper expectation.

So I guess out of all the Christmas traditions, disappointment resulting from improperly set expectations is one of the more authentic. Everywhere I go I am inundated with messages about what my expectations for this season should be. I should feel like this really is the most wonderful time of the year.  I should resign myself to the fact that it just ain’t Christmas because I don’t have a one to love, however, should Christmas miraculously still occur, it will be blue.

Meanwhile back in the original Christmas story, the shepherds have left and the family is taking Jesus to the temple where they meet a man named Simeon. Now, Simeon, this is a man with properly set expectations. He was moving with the Holy Spirit and when this baby Jesus shows up he knows instantly that this is the one he has been waiting for; God’s promised salvation.

I kind of love that Simeon’s reaction was to immediately burst out in praise. In my head, this praise is a song and this song is a sweet little remix of a popular 33 BC classic.

Simeon had a super close relationship with God. In that relationship, God made a promise to Simeon. Because Simeon believed without misguided personal expectation he was able to recognize the promise when it arrived then rejoice in it. Properly managed expectations are a pretty marvelous thing.


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