12.14.2013

Adjusting Our Christmas Expectations (Guest Post by Shanyn Salinski)

Photo by Shanyn Salinski


She asks me every year for the past couple of years, “Are you coming Christmas Day or Boxing Day?”

She knows the answer.  Our family day is Christmas Day. For us, just us three.

She asks him every year for the past couple of years, “What time will you arrive?”

She knows the answer. When we get there, we’ll be there. We try to get away in good time. But with gifts, animals, weather and traffic the journey becomes something fluid.

Being there. That is what matters.  

Not when. Not with how much, or how little. 

Standards the things that we own.  Spending time as a family. Having a Special Christmas our own way.

Expectations the things that want to own us. Get here quick. Hurry up. What took you so long? Get done. We want to do something else. 

We have set a family standard for how we try to conduct ourselves. How we choose to celebrate holy days like Christmas.  Like letting people wish us the best of the season in their own way. Like slowing down, like saying no. And sometimes saying NO!

We have worked hard to reject expectations. Of ourselves, and of others – and that`s tough.  We are bombarded with expectations in the media, in our devotionals, at church and by our friends and family. Do this. Do that. Say this. Say that. Don`t. Do.  STOP! STOP!

But how hard is it to let go?  So hard. We WANT that TV movie Christmas, even the comedy. We WANT the ___________________.  (Fill in your own blank!)  And yet when we find ourselves with what we have, right in front of us, we find exactly what we need.

Playing with new toys. Reading new books. Napping. Not cooking. Not traveling. Those matter to us. Talking about Jesus, and the reason we celebrate. Praying for those who are far away, and those who are ill. Lonely. Struggling.

Standards – seems like some get lower and lower all the time. While, in perfect harmony, the expectations get higher and higher.

Jesus was born in a barn. A barn, in a manger. His young parents held him in the dark, smelling the breath of animals. Hearing the songs of angels. God set the standard right there – Jesus came to save everyone. No one was too low. Too humble. Too dirty. Too hopeless. Too ANYTHING!

People who knew prophecy had expectations of a King. They had high expectations of the one who would come to save THEM.   God crushed that expectation with so much love, with such a gentle hand. He said no. And then He said come.

If you could drop one expectation this year, what would it be?  Buying gifts for people you don’t really know because they are ‘family’?  Spending too much because you don’t want to be accused of being ‘cheap’?  Rushing here and there to please someone?  Not being able to say no because you’ll be letting someone down?

If you could raise one standard this year, what would it be? To sing more carols? To shout greetings out the window as you drive downtown? To make cookies and squares to share? To seek joy and embrace it? To be able to say, with love, no?

I challenge you to embrace something new and wonderful for you this Christmas season!  If you are alone, reach out to someone. If you are rushed, slow down. If you are tired, rest. If you are stressed out, do something silly. Make a list of your expectations – and give them to God.  Surrender them and let Him fill you with joy.





Shanyn blogs from her farm house in western Manitoba, surrounded by her critters and the wild animals who inspire her writing and photography. She blogs at: http://sunflowershan.wordpress.com; and http://mystic-mom.blogspot.com and has contributed to a number of magazines and blogs. She is a Son Follower who is married to her best friend and has an amazing son. 

Shanyn is an inspiring blogger, poet, and soul sister. An encouragement to many, including me, I am grateful to include her in our Inspiring Women Series for this special Christmas post.  Shanyn was also interviewed over at dVerse Poet's Pub this past week- be sure and pop over to check it out! 


Joining with Barbie's Weekend Brew

11 comments:

  1. Truly enjoyed the welcoming sounds of the ocean.

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    1. Dawn has a lovely site here, and the ocean sounds are really nice.

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  2. A lot of hard truth in those wise words.

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    1. Hard truth - yes. But shared in love. And with grace as we all struggle, and we all fall short. But we all are under grace, and can love one another!

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  3. loved this! your words made me stop and think of how God crushed the prophets expectations of their King, so many are still waiting for Him because of their expectations. and we as His people run wild believing that busy is good and being is lazy. thank you for reminding our hearts its ok to stop and say no. ((HUGS))

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    1. Teresa, great points- so agree about the running wild, it leads to emptiness... I echo your thoughts here.

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    2. I love your words, thank you for sharing! Running wild indeed. Thanks for being here!

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  4. Always, always amazed at how God speaks thru the words of my precious friends in the blogging world, using your stories and the photos/graphics and the Scriptures you may include to address my deepest needs. I'm somewhat late in reading & commenting on this post, but for me...I came upon it at the most perfect time.

    Grateful for the dynamic duo of Shanyn & Dawn...much love to you both!

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  5. A wonderful and thought - full post.

    I am streaming carols on the computer and the crashing waves goes nicely with the olde world music.

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walk along the shore with me and leave your footprints in the sand-
I'm listening, friend...in November I will not be replying so often, but instead slip quietly over to your place for a visit. ;)