Saturday, December 12, 2020

Finding Hope When Our Expectations are Disrupted

by Beth Vogt @BethVogt

We’re all adjusting our expectations for Christmas this year, aren’t we? 

With an ongoing pandemic, we’ll experience a “socially distant” holiday season, whatever that looks like in our states, our towns, our homes.

This certainly isn’t the Christmas we imagined months ago as we packed away all the fa-la-la-la-la, while treasuring the newly-made memories at the beginning of 2020.

But what about that first Christmas all those hundreds of years ago? Now there’s a story that required adjusting expectations.

Mary and Joseph were betrothed, but their joy was disrupted by her unexpected pregnancy. The young couple accepted this miracle, only then to be required to journey to Bethlehem for a census. Not what any young, pregnant woman wants to do: travel by donkey to another town along with hundreds of other people.

Upon their arrival in Bethlehem – at last! – things only got worse. No room in the inn. In any inn. The kindness of a stranger provided them shelter with common farm animals.

And there she gave birth to their son.

Certainly not how they expected the miracle to occur.

God’s promised Savior was birthed in the midst of disappointment and inconvenience and filth. 

Outside, people’s normal lives were interrupted by the census, separating them from family and friends. Everyone was oblivious to a baby’s birth in a stable behind an inn – and how that affected them for all eternity.

Perhaps the circumstances we’re facing today can help us better understand that first Christmas, with all its unexpected disruptions, demands, and hardships. Let’s not forget, the miracle still holds true for us today, too.

May we cling ever tighter to hope as we release our hold on our usual expectations for holidays. What’s bringing you hope as 2020 comes to a close? 


Beth K. Vogt believes God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” Having authored nine contemporary romance novels and novellas, The Best We’ve Been, the final book in Beth’s Thatcher Sisters Series with Tyndale House Publishers, releasers May 2020. Other books in the women’s fiction series include Things I Never Told You, which won the 2019 AWSA Award for Contemporary Novel of the Year, and Moments We Forget. Beth is a 2016 Christy Award winner, a 2016 ACFW Carol Award winner, and a 2015 RITA® finalist. An established magazine writer and former editor of the leadership magazine for MOPS International, Beth blogs for Learn How to Write a Novel and The Write Conversation and also enjoys speaking to writers group and mentoring other writers. Visit Beth at


  1. Next year this covid thing may well seem like a bad dream. How fun it will be to resume some the holiday activity we are missing this year! But in the meantime we can notice God's blessings--a warm house, the beauty of our neighborhoods, Christmas music, and those we are allowed to see. He is present and at work. Always. Nice piece, Beth. Thanks for the encouragement. Merry Christmas!!!

    1. Julie: Noticing the blessings we do have is so important even as we navigate our lives at this moment and allow ourselves to acknowledge sadness. Opening our eyes and seeing the fullness of hope in these circumstances transforms our view of Christmas.

  2. Beautiful words, Beth. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thank you, Crystal. May you find what you need during this season, whatever your circumstances. Comfort. Joy. Hope. Peace ...

  3. Wonderful post, Beth. Enjoyed reading it, and thank you for giving all of us the opportunity. Merry Christmas and God bless you!

    1. Thank you, Diane. Wishing you a blessings-filled Christmas and new year.

  4. Thank you, Beth, for a reminder that we have hope even amid disruption and disappointment.