Expectation or Expectancy?


Funny how a few letters in a word can change the meaning of the word and subsequently one’s outlook on life. My friend, Gloria Gaither said, “How we experience Christmas, depends greatly on whether we approach it with a spirit of expectation or a spirit of expectancy!” Most of us approach the holiday season with high expectations. We play it like a video clip in our mind. “Won’t it be wonderful to have the entire family together! It will be such a peaceful time of love and laughter.”

It doesn’t always pan out that way does it? Old wounds are uncovered, difficult personalities are encountered and turkeys are burned to a crisp, sometimes in the oven and sometimes in the living room. Expectant people somehow feel like they deserve a certain outcome so they expect it. I fall into that group by the way. Often our expectations are dashed and we end up feeling disappointed and blue. Conversely, people who live with expectancy are fully prepared for whatever might come and look for the blessing that God might bring from any situation. If people with expectations are often disappointed, people who live with expectancy are often surprised with joy.

High expectations are only valid when we look to God to provide in the midst of the real stuff of life. Rather than looking to the circumstances of life to fulfill our wants and needs.

Suddenly our focus changes……

from what we want to what He wants,

from what we can get, to what we can give,

from what we have planned to what He has planned for us.

O Lord help me look into your face this season with a spirit of expectancy.


  1. Hey Ken;
    I love the comparison of “expectancy” and “expectations”. I too, like you, tend to fall into the “expectations” category. It’s so important to look for the surprises of “expectancy” though. Your post reminded me of the great C.S. Lewis book, “Surprised by Joy.” He was both surprised by his wife Joy and surprised by the “joy of life” when he finally discovered where true hope is found.
    As for me, I think I’ll try to look forward to this Christmas with more “expectancy.” Thanks for the reminder of what’s important.
    Take care!
    Dr. Rus

  2. Great post. I agree with Dr Russ, the first thing I thought of was CS Lewis and Surprised by Joy. Expectancy vs Expectations. Very edifying Mr Davis – thank you for your words and wisdom. Your words blessed me today. Peace, Deana

  3. Excellent. Too often I’ve allowed good life moments to be strangled by expectations.
    Been reading about Joseph this week, a man who eventually figured out how to live in expectation in the midst of the disappointment of the unexpected. “Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives…”
    Thanks for the challenge to approach this season differently. I appreciate your heart.

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