Christmas Eve, I heard a more detailed telling of the Biblical Christmas story. It gave me a different perspective to be reminded that Mary traveled more than likely in labor - at least part of the way. She was on a donkey and going a long distance. She didn't know what to expect when she got there. When she arrived, the town was very busy and she needed to have a place to have the baby boy she was promised.
What kind of expectations affected Mary and Joseph's relationship? Mary didn't expect to be visited by an angel. Joseph expected a virgin. Mary expected to be married awhile before having a baby. Mary didn't expect to have to have people judge her for being pregnant before she was married. Mary didn't expect to have a baby in a barn (with all THAT entails!). She had been promised a King. What kind of King is born in a barn?
Luke 2:4-7 (NIV) 4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
If she had time, it would have been easy for Mary to be frustrated during this whole process. Her life as she knew it was turned upside down.
I was reminded about how many times my frustration level is extremely low. Somebody going to slow in front of me? I have to wait? I was here first, why is that person going before me? You want me to do what?
How many times are we frustrated due to our expectations of what we want to happen? Mary changed and/or rearranged her expectations. This is a good reminder for us as well.
Romans 8:18-21 (NIV) 18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.
Merry Christmas! Maybe lowering our expectations of ourselves and others will help us lower our frustration and be a gift in itself!