Who enjoys M. Night Shyamalan? He’s a divisive filmmaker for a reason – and not just because his movies tend to be pretty spooky. He’s become known for having a big twist at the end of his movies – from his debut The Sixth Sense, where it turned out one of the characters was dead the whole time to his more recent films. When a new Shyamalan movie debuts, we’re primed to watch for a twist.
But that’s fine with me. What I don’t enjoy about his films is how often he subverts my expectations. The first film that happened with was The Village. Did you see that one? It was about an 18th century village where there were monsters in the woods and the kids weren’t allowed to go outside.
The trailers made it look like a straight-up horror movie (which, as you know, I’m a big fan of). But the movie isn’t actually scary, arguably apart from one scene. It’s paced and plays out much more like a mystery than a monster movie. I remember sitting in the theater and being annoyed at the lack of scares. The film was approaching its climax when I finally realized the movie had never wanted to be a horror movie. Blame the trailers, blame my own expectations, blame whatever you want, but it wasn’t the movie’s fault I wasn’t enjoying it.
I had come in with the wrong expectations.
Can you relate? Is there a time in your life you’ve had a clear set of expectations that weren’t met? Maybe they were for something small, like a book or film. Or maybe they were for a new job that turned out not to be what you thought it would be. A relationship that didn’t go the way you expected it to.
It’s the holiday season, and I know a lot of us have expectations built up around these next few weeks: gifts we’ll receive, reactions to gifts we’ll give. Family and friends we’ll see.
And I’m willing to bet I’m not the only person who’s been disappointed by holiday realities that don’t match up to my expectations.
And of course that’s not just Christmas. We live in a world of failed expectations – and that extends to faith. Anyone want to admit they’ve been disappointed in God?
Again, you’re not alone there. In fact, we’re going to look today at someone who finds himself in a bad situation and expected Jesus to get him out of it.