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For Those Who Are Disappointed

Our expectations are fully realized in the complete work of Jesus.

Will you agree with me that the Christmas season is the most , time of the year? Would you also agree with me that the Christmas season can be the saddest and most disappointing time of the year? Every year it catches me by surprise. There I am either listening to or singing one of the beautiful Christmas carols when from deep within me there comes this wave of sadness so intense that I feel like crying. Why? Why this mixture of joy and sadness, hope and disappointment in the Christmas season?

Well part of the answer lies in the insane schedule we try to keep during this time of the year. Sometimes I can hardly wait until the season ends so that I can experience the joy of which I have been so hurriedly singing.

Part of the reason for this mixture of feelings is due to missing loved ones. I still miss baking cookies with my mother and brother. And even though we do not need a fireplace in the Philippines, I still miss going out into the woods to chop wood with my dad. Certain carols trigger fond memories that touch sensitive nerves during Christmas.

But this morning I want to suggest a deeper reason for this mixture of joy and sadness, hope and disappointment at this time of the year. The reason is illustrated in the text we just read. There is joy because the carols and the anthems we sing awaken in us tremendous expectations.

Listen for instance to the words of the hymn written by Johann Schop, harmonized by J.S. Bach.

Break forth O beauteous heavenly light and usher in the morning.

These shepherds shrink not with a fright, but hear the angels' warning.

This child now weak in infancy, our confidence and joy shall be, the power of Satan breaking, our peace eternal making.

Break forth O beauteous ...

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Darrell Johnson has been preaching the Gospel since 1968. He has served as Senior Minister for a number of congregations; in the United States, the Philippines, and Canada. He has taught preaching for Fuller Theological Seminary, Carey Theological College in Vancouver, and Regent College in Vancouver, where from 2000 to 2009 he served as Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology, now serving part-time as Teaching Fellow. He has authored eight books, including The Glory of Preaching (IVP Academic) and Discipleship on the Edge: An Expository Journey Through Revelation.

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Audio Sample:

Sermon Outline:


I. Christmas awakens both joy and sadness because we know our expectations have not yet been fully realized

II. Disappointment comes when Jesus doesn't fill our theological expectations

III. Disappointment comes when Jesus doesn't fill our personal expectations

IV. We must set aside our preconceptions of how God is supposed to work

V. We must lay aside our expectations and trust God