There are some moments in our lives that in no way meet the expectations we have for them. We excitedly anticipate a perfect prom night only to be surprised that ours is nothing like the movies. We anxiously anticipate our team getting defeated, only to find ourselves stunned by their big win! Sometimes we lower our expectations so we won’t be disappointed. Sometimes we raise our expectations as we hope and strive for great results.
Watch this clip from Christmas Vacation (1989) as Clark Griswold’s high expectations for a Christmas feast are in no way met as things quickly unravel at the dinner table.
In this scene, Clark and his family are seated around the table ready to begin a huge holiday meal. The sweet music begins suggesting the expected perfection of this highly anticipated moment for Clark. This guy who truly wanted everything to go just right has his hopes dashed as everything that could go wrong does go wrong.
For individual or family reflection:
Describe an experience that in no way met your expectations.
- What did it feel like when things were not at all what you thought they would be?
- What do you think Clark’s expectations were for this meal? Were they reasonable?
Clark seems to be really disappointed.
- Do you think we sometimes have expectations for our family and friends and “big moments” that are simply too high?
- Do you think it is fair or right to place your expectations on others? Why? Or what not?
- Clark’s family dinner was full of unfortunate surprises. When was a time that you experienced an unexpected and wonderful surprise?
Just for kids:
What was the funniest thing that you saw happen at the dinner table in the clip?
Clark’s family expected things to be really good and they turned out kind of bad. But sometimes we think things will be really bad and they turn out great! Describe a time you had to eat a food that you thought was going to be really gross but it turned out to be really good. (Mine was okra!)
Have you ever had something really cool happen that you didn’t expect? What was it like to be surprised?
Read Mark 14: 17- 31
This account is one full of surprises for the disciples. Jesus has gathered them for the celebration of the Jewish Passover meal. The table was prepared for a familiar ritual. But Jesus started to change things. He picked common things up off of the table and began to give new, extraordinary meaning to ordinary stuff. Bread now symbolized his body. Wine now symbolized his blood. Jesus gave them an unexpected gift and then very unexpected and disturbing news.
This week, pay very close attention to your expectations for moments and for people. Rather than being surprised by God’s movement in your life this week, expect it! Expect God to be present in your life and on your path, but trust that God might move in very unexpected ways.