Expecting So Little, Experiencing So Much

Cal Jernigan – Lead Pastor

This evening, my wife and I and a handful of close friends attended a local performance of A Christmas Carol. The storyline of this Dicken’s classic is something I have come to love over the years and I have seen quite a few renditions of it. My family even shares a tradition of watching one version or another together every Christmas Eve. Personally, the story never fails to move me and make me appreciate the significance of the choices we make each and every day.

So this particular performance was held locally at the Hale Theatre in Gilbert. I have walked by this theatre a number of times but have never actually bothered to enter and check it out for myself. When we entered this evening we discovered that this theatre is a very intimate “theatre in the round.” The setting is comfortable and cozy.

This is simply to say that from the minute I walked into the theatre, I was having a “pleasantly surprised” experience. Because of the way the theatre is designed, you cannot help but feel that you are “up close and personal” with the actors. What a great design!

Now, even with all of this said, I have to confess I was not expecting the show to be all that great. I cannot tell you why I felt this but having been blessed to see a handful of shows both on and off Broadway over the years, I pre adjusted my expectations accordingly. That is… down. Way down.

What I want to tell you is that this show blew my mind. It was outstanding. The local Fox weatherman, Cory McCloskey (of all people) plays Ebenezer Scrooge and he is way beyond fabulous in this role. Way beyond. I sure didn’t see that coming! At the singing of the very first song I turned to Lisa and commented “this is way better than I was expecting.” Well, that was just the beginning. The singing, the acting, the special effects, the whole shebang was so much more than I had even dared to imagine. The smile on my face and the enjoyment I was experiencing just kept building throughout the whole show.

Now, if you think I have somehow come to see myself as qualified to be a “theatre critic” and thus have written this blog, you are sorely mistaken. I am not even remotely qualified. What I do want to comment on is the role “expectations” tend to play in one’s “experience.” Here’s the point… when you don’t expect something to be all that great or special or worthwhile, you tend to avoid investing your interest. You reach conclusions before you actually check it out. And this, sadly, can lead to missing something incredible.

You see, “investigating” is simply a form of “investing.” See the similarity in the words? We all know there is no return on investments never made. Only when we invest ourselves do we have a right to expect anything in return.

And this brings me to Jesus, to Christmas, and to a story you might feel you are all too familiar with. A few questions:

  • Just what expectations do you have of God this Christmas?
  • Are you planning on experiencing something new in the next few days or are you just planning on the same old, same old?
  • Do you believe God is still capable of “blowing your mind”?

My prayer for you and your family this Christmas is that you will come whichever service you choose to attend with open minds and great expectations! Expect to experience Him! God tends to pleasantly surprise those who seek after Him.

Psalms 34:8 says,

“Taste and see that the Lord is good…”

This is experiential language! This is “firsthand” knowledge he is offering. This is an invitation to invest yourself!

So experience him for yourself! Come see for yourself what the Lord has for you.

May the Lord exceed all your expectations!

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Expecting So Little, Experiencing So Much

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