PSALM 124 RACHEL HEYDUCK

If the Lord hadn’t been for us— let Israel now repeat!— 2 if the Lord hadn’t been for us, when those people attacked us
3 then they would have swallowed us up whole with their rage burning against us! 4 Then the waters would have drowned us; the torrent would have come over our necks;5 then the raging waters would have come over our necks! 6 Bless the Lord because he didn’t hand us over like food for our enemies’ teeth! 7 We escaped like a bird from the hunters’ trap; the trap was broken so we escaped! 8Our help is in the name of the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.
It could have been worse. At least that is what I often tell myself. Even in some of my lowest points in life, I have found a way to say, “It could have been worse.”
For my sixteenth birthday, I had one of those days. The day before my sixteenth birthday, I was at school preparing to get my driver’s license the next day. I was going to have friends over that evening, and we would celebrate my sweet sixteen. My sister was in town; she went to college in the Kansas City area. She came and picked me up from school that day and then delivered the bad news: My grandfather, my stepmom’s dad, who lived in Iowa, had died and we would be leaving on my sixteenth birthday to go to the funeral. No driver’s license on my birthday. It could have been worse.
The next day we flew into Kansas City, where we met our neighbor, who had brought us my dad’s car. But our luggage did not arrive with our flight, so they would have to send it to Iowa the next day (we hoped it would come before the funeral). My sister and I loaded up in the car and made the wise decision that she would drive. We thought it might be a little iffy me driving with her across state lines with my driver’s permit. Along the route to Iowa, we were stopped by the police for speeding; my dad’s speedometer was a little off. The officer decided that my sister had to sit in the back seat of his patrol car while he checked her driver’s license. I sat in the car alone wondering if it could, in fact, get worse.
We arrived at 12:30 p.m. at my grandmother’s house, where my dad was so sad that he missed seeing me on my actual birthday. My dad had six red roses for me in celebration of the significant birthday. The day was not a total loss! Our luggage
15
showed up less than 30 minutes before the funeral, so thankfully I did have something to wear. All in all, my 16th birthday could have been worse, but it was not at all what I had hoped it would be.
We all have expectations for the perfect day, the ideal season, and the traditional holiday. Most times, they are not what we expect, but they could be worse. Christ will be born, and Christ has changed and will change our lives.
Advent is a time of preparation for the coming of Christ. We often hold so much expectation for this time of year, and it never is what we expect, but there is hope. Hope that God will be with us no matter what. Hope that the season will be all that it needs to be. Hope that our expectations for perfection are set aside. Hope for a life transformed with Christ.
Prayer: For letting go of expectations.