At Christmas, we hope expectantly - not only for the One who defines the word, but also that relatives won't fight with each other, costs will be modest and that we will be spared additional pounds from overeating. The problem is most of these things can be expected to come to pass.
The birth of Jesus was a miracle. Socially rejected shepherds, not religious or political elites who expected to be told first, heard the news from the angel. The newborn king's first home was a barn, not a palace. He owned nothing all his life but the simple clothes on his back and, after leaving home, He had no home to call his own. Farm animals, not thoroughbred horses, were his first companions. He was placed in a manger, not a soft bed with silk sheets. None of this was expected, except by a few prophets and those who followed them. But then the idea that God would enter the world so that humanity might enter eternity wasn't expected either.
Modern politics is emblematic of these conflicting kingdoms. Too many put too much faith in Democrats or Republicans to deliver us from evil, a word that serves more as a metaphor than as a diagnosis of our time. Those expectations are quickly diminished for most, once temporal power is achieved.
At Christmas we are given another opportunity to focus on One who never disappoints, assuming our expectations are in the right place and our faith in the right Person.