Dear “My Christmas Expectations,” 

You ruin things.



P.S. I don’t care for you. 

P.P.S. Seriously. I don’t.

Christmas at my parent's house. I have no idea why one might expect the perfect, idyllic Christmas from the looks of this photo. Do you?

      Christmas at my parents’ home. Before. (Scenes like this are made possible by people who have many, many children.)

I stood in front of the dolls at Target for a good half an hour and then spent another few hours looking online. I even made a special trip back a few days later to return the one I picked out originally. I decided Hattie would like the brownish-blonde one better, since it looked more like her. The blonde’s outfit was cuter, but Brownish-Blonde had more accessories.

So, yeah, it was a tough decision.

And then she looked at it Christmas morning like she had unwrapped a new toothbrush. Which she actually did get in her stocking. (Because her parents are super-cool and overly practical, that’s why.)

Hours later, she would declare that her favorite gift she received was a tube of lip-gloss that also came in her stocking…and I wanted to kick something.

Not to be outdone, Edy, the eldest and most likely to get something meaningful out of all that preparation I had done to teach our children that Christmas was about God coming to earth in the flesh and not presents, tossed aside several lovingly selected gifts from family members and asked more than once, “Where’s the next one?” and “Is that all?”

Score: 2, for sinful children; Zero, for Mommy’s Attempts at a Meaningful Christmas.

Oh, Expectations.

Did I mention how much I dislike you?


I expected Hattie to squeal with delight at that doll.

I expected my kids to say “please” and “thank you” in the midst of major holiday overload.

I expected the birth of Jesus to outshine all else that was happening for my children, myself and others around me.

I expected Christmas to be the perfect climax of all that I had prepared for.

I expected.

And I was disappointed.




I am the common denominator here.

I am the problem.


Christmas at my parent's house. After. And I have no idea why Edy's smile looks a tiny bit wicked. Let's just say, it's fitting.

Christmas at my parents’ home. After. (And a wicked grin on my child’s face. Which is fitting, really.)


So what’s the answer to this problem? With a new year approaching I need to know.

There is much to look forward to in 2015 in the Hall House (perhaps there is in your life as well), and I am not anxious to repeat my Christmas mistakes. So how do I manage my expectations for all that is to come?


I let them go.

I let go of control.

And I sit back and enjoy.

Easy, peasy, lemon-squeezy, right?

If I am the problem, then I need to take myself out of the equation.

I am not in control anyway.

And it’s a good thing too.


One of my memory verses this month sings for those looking ahead. “As it is written, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.”’ 1 Cor. 2:9

Then there’s the ever-encouraging Romans 8:28. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

God’s Word is Truth. 

When he tells us to expect good things, we can trust him. We can trust him with the New Year. We can trust him with our children. We can trust him with our many expectations. We can trust him with our finances. We can trust him. Period.

(Now, of course, there is a caveat here that should not be overlooked.)

God has prepared good things and is working for the good of those who love him.

None of us will love him perfectly all the time, but we surely cannot expect to persist in disobedience or self-righteousness or selfishness and still experience all the good he has prepared for us. Our sin has consequences, the greatest of which is that we miss out on close fellowship with a God who loves us and wants what’s best for us.

So, above all else, loving God more should be our Number One Goal for year number 2015 (and every year after). 

Everything else falls in line behind that, including our many hopeful expectations of what he will do and what is to come.

And because we can expect good things from a good God who does not make mistakes, we really can sit back and enjoy this new year and all that it will bring.

Easy, peasey, lemon-squeezy.

Love God first.

You will not be disappointed.

And that’s good news for a good New Year.