Among my favorite Christmas movies is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. It captures all of the insanity and chaos and humor that go with Christmas. We watch it every year and it’s one of the few movies I like enough that my family bought it for me.
Early in the movie, the two main characters (Ellen and Clark) are talking in bed and she says to him; “It’s just that you build things up in your mind, Sparky. You set standards no family event can ever live up to.” Clark answers “When have I ever done that?” And she says ” Parties. Weddings.” He cuts her off by saying “Good night, honey.” while Ellen continues “Anniversaries. Funerals. Holidays. Vacations. Graduations.”
Expectations. Hopes. We all have them. Christmas is all about hope and Advent, the season that precedes it, teaches us the power of expectation. BUT these expectations become an unbearable burden. Clark sets a standard for a good old-fashioned family Christmas that only leads to disappointment (and some very funny stuff too).
What are you expecting this Christmas season? Is it too much? Is it build around an image of Christmas, holiday, family that reality can’t bear? The people we love are just as fallible as are we. And they have their own, sometimes inconsistent, expectations and hopes.
I am a Sparky – my expectations and hopes are sometimes so big they dwarf the reality of life and the ability of those around me to meet them. I am learning that there is really only One who can bear the weight of my hopes. And who helps me to understand and respond to the hopes of others around me.