Sometimes we enter into an experience with great expectations. We may be on our way to a new vacation spot, and our expectations are high for what it will be like. We can have great expectations about books and movies, events and activities, and even people. Leading up to the experience, we are hopeful that it will live up to our expectations.
We also know what it is like to be disappointed—disappointed because something or someone did not live up to our expectations. We had expected a lot, but we were let down when all was said and done. Unfortunately, life is filled with disappointments. Our hopes and dreams do not often work out the way that we wanted. We find ourselves saddened by expectations that did not live up to all we had hoped for.
The people of Israel in the Bible had great expectations of a King who would rule them and restore them to greatness. Yet, time and time again, Israel’s kings fell short. While some may have shown promise, no king ever met their expectations. They lived in ongoing disappointment. They had grown tired and weary in having their expectations crumble again and again. When would there be a true King?
At Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Israel’s King and our world’s Savior. In Jesus, we discover the realization of everything that God had promised; a king of righteousness and justice, mercy and love, strength, and might. Jesus fulfilled every expectation. In the classic Christmas carol, O Little Town of Bethlehem, we sing, “The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.” Jesus comes to us as the one true King and one who does not disappoint. In reality, Jesus exceeds our expectations. In Jesus, God gave us His best because He gave us himself.
As we celebrate the Christmas season, there will always be disappointments along the way. Not everything this season will be the way we had hoped. But by the time we come to Bethlehem’s manger, we receive the good news: “the hope and fears of all the years are met in Jesus.” Jesus will never disappoint.