Sunday, December 23, 2007

Expectations -- Hope Chronicles 5

Recently, I overheard this conversation between two men. The first announced happily that he had received a $300 bonus from his company. The second man was less enthusiastic. He said, "Well, you want to know what I got? A $25 gift card. Enjoy yours . . . ." Actually, he pretty much slammed whomever gave him that gift card.

There is a big discrepancy in the amount of money received. I will grant that. However, I wonder about the circumstances around the gifts. Does one work for a small company and another a large one? Were the gifts from the company or the individual bosses? What were the thoughts behind the gifts?

I was actually a little taken aback. There was so little gratitude for the gift given to the second man. Clearly he expected more or thought he deserved more.

I like to give gifts but I hope the price tag attached isn't what the people see. I hope they see the heart behind it. I hope I receive gifts being grateful for what has been given rather than looking at what I would rather have had or comparing it to what someone else received.

This week I've been reflecting on the three Wise Men (also known as Magi or Kings) that followed a star from far off lands to see the King of the Jews. In Mathew, they initially stop at King Herod's palace to ask where they can find this new king. It seems realistic that since the star was announcing the the birth of a king that they would find him in a palace. Herod doesn't know of this new king but is suspicious and asks them to find him and return and tell him where to find the new king. But God warns them of returning to Herod.

Tradition often indicates that the Magi show up the night of Jesus birth. But in Mathew, it indicates that they found Jesus in a house rather than a manager. Either way, manager or house, it was probably an infinitely more humble dwelling than they might have expected for a king! They seemed to initially think that they would find him at the palace.

My take on this is that they didn't find quite what they expected. They could have turned away, convincing themselves that this was somehow a mistake -- this isn't where you find kings. However, this did not deter them from worshipping Jesus. They were willing to have their expectations adjusted. As a result, they didn't miss out on a unique opportunity.

Which are you like? The Magi or the second man in the story above. When things don't look as you had hoped or anticipated do you reject what is offered or take it gratefully?

I would like to be like the Magi, but I think that I am often like the second man. Maybe not so much with gifts but more with my circumstances. Things look nothing like I dreamt of as a child or even what I dreamt of a year ago. I need to be reminded that my hope is in a living God who know what is best for me. He gives good gifts to his children -- even when I don't always understand them.

My prayer is that I would be able to fix my eyes on that hope and the good things He has given.

1 comment:

Jill said...


I love your line of thinking here. Great perspective!