These are three words that I think we all feel during the Christmas season.

We create expectations of ourselves, and others, based on what we see on TV or social media or in the $18 magazines calling our names at the checkout daunting the perfect table setting with headlines like “Seven Tips to A Simpler Christmas”.

We anticipate what’s to come. Excitement at out-of-town family coming home or the giving of that unique gift to the very special person.  Maybe we can’t wait for the friends gathering to exchange cookies and create memories from the white elephant gift exchange.  Or maybe we have heavy hearts as we anticipate the first Christmas without a loved one or the tense gathering of broken families.

Through all the striving and anticipation,  we may realize we have hit exhaustion.  We’ve tried so hard to make everything perfect and live up to unrealistic expectations that we have driven ourselves into a frenzy of clouded thinking and achy feet.

We have lost sight of the real expectation; the real anticipation; the real meaning of Christmas.  Instead we find ourselves worried, cranky and exhausted.

I don’t know where you are right now during this busy season, but I wonder if you are in a place of exhaustion like me.
Are you worried, cranky or tired of  waiting on God to work in your circumstances?
Have you been anticipating something big from God and He hasn’t delivered?
Have you taken things into your own hands and now you are exhausted from trying to “fix” it?  Do you need a little peace, hope and joy?

It can all be found in the One we celebrate this season.
Peace. Hope. Joy.

Whatever it is that has you fighting or worrying or exhausted, give it up and just trust Jesus.

Trust the One who is the ultimate unexpected surprise.
He came in such unexpected ways – through a virgin birth, born in a barn and sleeping in an animal trough.
No gender reveal parties.
No beautiful 4th generation cradles.
No cute Christmas outfit with matching hat and socks.

Just a humble baby sent by God to save the world.  It’s a true story.  And Jesus is still on the throne today.  Only He’s not a baby anymore.  He grew. He saved.  He healed.  He died. He rose.  He is alive today and His Spirit can live in us if we will just believe, trust and follow Him.

Through that trust, we can know that He is going to make a way where there is no way.  We know His thoughts are better than our thoughts and His plan is better than our plan.

It’s hard to give up control, but I am here to tell you, that together, we can do it.  We can give up whatever we are trying to control and change.  We can give up the worry and the striving.  We can have peace during this Christmas season.

Celebrate His birth.
Trust Him.
And then…….Expect the Unexpected.

Merry Christmas.