I hate snow, but my daughter loves it. She scans the sky for heavy-laden clouds, listens for weather reports, prays for snow, and runs to the window every five minutes when snow is predicted, hoping a foot or more will have fallen since she last looked. As soon as the first flake falls, she’s got her coat and boots on and is ready for fun.
Much as I hate the cold, damp, blinding mess, watching her joy makes me hope for snow too. Her enthusiasm is contagious. The other day, she even did a snow dance, complete with build-a-snowman gestures, the catch-a-flake-on-your tongue head bob, the throw-a-snowball lunge, the shoveling twist, the snow angel floor move, the sledding booty shuffle, and the heavy coat penguin step. I laughed out loud. Ever since, I’ve been thinking about joy. And expectations. And Jesus.
No, I haven’t suffered a concussion from an ice-packed missile. I meant to write that. Jesus, joy, and expectation go together. Jesus is not a killjoy. Far from it! His first miracle, recorded for us in the Gospel of John (chapter 2), was making wine so a wedding feast could go on. The first of his public speeches on record (in Luke chapter 4) was a pronouncement it was party time. He said:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me
Because he has anointed me
To proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
And recovery of sight for the blind,
To release the oppressed,
To proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Just think about that for a minute. Wouldn’t you love to have good news, freedom, recovery, release, and favor? Wouldn’t it be exhilarating if next year, we could look back and say this was truly a year of the Lord’s favor for us? Isn’t that worth some exuberance, action, and prayer? Isn’t that worth a snow dance?
What are your expectations? Bring them to Jesus. And then, get ready for joy.