Expectations at Christmas

I was having a coffee with a close friend the other day and she asked me what we were doing for Christmas. I shared how we were going to be getting together with extended family and that I had a real sense that one of the family member’s who has an issue with manipulation and control was going to create a scene and get angry at someone, most likely my husband that afternoon. My friend looked at me and ‘gently’ rebuked me. “Jane, you are always challenging people to watch what they say as your words come true. What you put out there into the atmosphere, what you say, then has power and will come true. I think you should change what you are saying and be an atmosphere changer with your extended family.” Ouch – that really struck me and made me think. Yes. I 100% believe that there is power in our words and we can speak life or death into situations. I had been speaking death and destruction into our Christmas day and I needed to take responsibility to see that peace would reign.

Is there anything you are not looking forward to about this Christmas? Is there anyone whom you are dreading the interaction with? Sometimes Christmas can be so stressful and something we are not looking forward to, yet as Christians we are meant to be celebrating the birth of our Saviour? Below, I have highlighted some questions to ask yourself.

  1. Am I creating an idol out of Christmas with my expectations?
  • Do I have to have the house perfect?
  • Do I need to give (and receive) the perfect present?
  • Are my emotional needs being ‘filled’ or ‘unmet’ by expectations surrounding the perfect Christmas when God should really be taking that place?
  • Am I creating an ‘idol’ out of Christmas with my expectations of the ‘perfect’ Christmas?
  • Is there a lie I’m believing about having the ‘perfect’ Christmas?
  1. How am I spending my time, energy, money and thought life?
  • Is too much time, energy and money being spent on insignificant things?
  • Am I overthinking situations and creating a bigger problem in my mind?
  • Am I spending an inordinate amount of time thinking about what to buy for people?
  • Have I fallen into the trap of people pleasing?

    3. What am I speaking into the atmosphere?

  • Are my words full of life?
  • Am I expecting negative things to happen?
  • Am I vocalising my negative thoughts and expectations?

This Christmas, why don’t you resolve to be the change you so desperately desire within your family and community. Below I have listed five ways of doing this.

  1. Be an atmosphere changer
  • When you come up against someone who is angry or manipulative or a control freak, quietly change the atmosphere by saying something similar to “I see you spirit of manipulation and control. I choose not to partner with you and instead release freedom.”
  • A few months ago, I taught a group of children this by saying “Go manipulation. Come freedom.” The change is incredible.
  1. Watch your words
  • Be careful what you say and how you frame it.
  • Speak life into every situation.
  • Be an encourager.
  1. Realise what you can and cannot change and what you can bring to the situation.
  • Prepare some prophetic words to give to people.
  • Be on the look out for how you can encourage everyone you meet, whether by a smile, a few words, an action etc.
  • Take time to look out for the lonely, the people left out, the refugee, the unloved, the grieving, the ‘prisoner’ (whether in actual prison or a prisoner in their feelings), the person who can’t look you in the eye and doesn’t feel valued. Ask God what you can do or say to show love and to communicate to them that they are important and that you notice them.
  1. Do something just for the heck of it.
  • Have fun.
  • Do something with wild abandon.
  • Laugh out aloud.
  1. Spend some quality time with God

This 2017 Christmas, may you know and feel the love that Father God, Holy Spirit and Jesus all have for you and may you be a blessing to those you meet and spend time with.

Prophetic Activations / Exercises to incorporate into your week:

The purpose of these exercises is to help us hear God’s voice in a clearer manner. They sharpen our senses to hear and recognise God’s voice and His way of communicating with us. This enables us to grow in our relationship with God and also to impart to others what God tells us for them. Feel free to use as many of these activations each week as you can. The more you practice, the sharper you become at hearing God’s voice. Enjoy! Remember that whenever you give another person a prophetic word or picture etc, please make sure that it is encouraging, edifying (strengthening) and comforting (1 Corinthians 14:3) and that it comes from a place of love.

1. Children / Families Activation: Bake a birthday cake for Jesus for Christmas Day. Light some candles and sing Happy Birthday to Jesus. Then each person ask Jesus what His birthday wish is. Share with each other what they hear, feel or sense Jesus saying.

2. Group Activation: Sit in a circle of 5-6 people and choose one person to start with. Everyone asks God how He sees that person and then they share it with them. When everyone has shared, move on to the person on their left and everyone shares how God sees that person etc.

3. Beginner Activation: For one day, purpose to give everyone you meet that day an encouraging word, prophetic word, smile or action. Ask God for ideas.

4. Intermediate Activation: Ask God to highlight someone who is grieving and spend time formulating a prophetic word for that person.

5. Advanced Activation: Spend time with God asking Him for a prophetic word for the whole earth. Write it down and then go outside and decree and declare it out aloud.