A wise friend recently offered counsel to me saying frustrations are the result of expectations. We have great expectations which are not met, causing us to become discontent or unhappy.
Christmas is a season of great expectation. Part of it is the magic and wonder of the holiday, filled with sentimental memories and traditions. As our family entered this season, I found myself considering how we could choose wisely the activities, gifts, even desserts (you know how important THIS is!) that would bring peace, and not chaos, to our lives.
First, we decorated super-early. Before Thanksgiving was even on the menu. Second, I have all but given up on keeping our family traditions unadulterated. Enter my (current) least favorite character-building term: Flexibility. My husband has two jobs. One, which I love and find joy and fulfillment in, is pastoring. The other, where he is gone for long stretches of time and has to work most holidays, is a constant test of patience and endurance.
As I felt the wind of holiday-enduced emotion come upon me, my least favorite word came to visit. I have to be flexible. We can still celebrate Thanksgiving, even if its not the 4th Thursday of the month (I hate doing that). And Christmas, well, we’ll just change the tradition and routine each year according to that dang schedule (still working on my attitude).
But a new activity made its way to the calendar this year. Initiated by my 8-yr old, we are celebrating Amy Carmichael’s birthday. A hero who gave up all the warm traditions of her culture to serve the least in an over-populated, filthy, and hostile environment. She opposed the practice of temple prostitution, and rescued many young girls who were dedicated to the Hindu gods to be used as prostitutes. India remains a dangerous place for women. Gender-selection abortions are taking the lives of little girls. Social-economic pressure drives mothers to abandon their female children on the streets or leave them in piles of trash. Villages exist where nearly the entire population consists of men as the female population has been aborted.
We will honor this great woman of faith, and plant seeds of Great Expectation in our kids for what God can do with a surrendered (read: flexible) life.
Ooooh… and I have to share this. The Menu: Spiced Eggplant Dip with Garlic Naan, Green Coriander Chicken, and Fresh Lime Ice Cream. Yum! Forget the sugar cookies and fudge. Onward New Traditions!
God continues to rebuke my demanding flesh. I want to wholeheartedly submit to his will. Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Letting go of my expectations, for Christmas or other, is an opportunity to surrender to his will and thank him in all circumstances.
While serving in India, Amy received a letter from a young lady who was considering life as a missionary. She asked Amy, ‘What is missionary life like?’ Amy wrote back saying simply,
‘Missionary life is simply a chance to die.’
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