Learning Expectation: Christ's Birth & Children

Isaiah 9:1-7

Did you grow up as a kid looking forward to Christmas?
Different cultures have different expectations. I did. Not too much religious stuff. But the tree and the gifts? Yes! We like to give and receive gifts. It's easily distorted, commercialized, but a good instinct. (Think about giving: Google "Advent Conspiracy" for a wider vision of giving gifts.)
Part of what we love in the holiday as children is the thrill of expectation. Part of what we love as parents is watching and fostering our children's expectation. Yes, it's a rather artificial ritual, but it can point to a deep truth, rich and complex: learning to live life expectantly -- in hope. Helping a child to live expectantly, creatively, in hope is a great gift. The gifts the Wise Men bring symbolize the hope and expectation that they believe are embodied in that unknown child, without status, but marked by signs for the future.