Anticipation. That feeling of waiting, of knowing something could just be amazingly awesome. Waiting for a piece of news, or an experience, that feeling in the pit of your stomach that sometimes fills you with energy and sometimes fills you with dread.
I love that feeling, the feeling of anticipation. I feel it in a variety of ways. When you smell a delicious meal cooking in the kitchen and you can just tell that it is going to be awesome. Before the start of a big game, like the beginning of the Cubs playoff games, I have felt anticipation with a sense of dread and fear. It might be something like the start of a vacation, of a new adventure or experience. As a kid, I loved the build up to opening Christmas presents (even though I knew what I was getting every single time) because I couldn’t wait to open them up. Even now, I love the nervous feeling I get in my stomach right before I preach a sermon, any sermon, whether it be on a day like Easter or Christmas Eve, a regular Wednesday night worship, or to a group at the nursing home. I figure that when I no longer feel that feeling of anticipation, I should call it a day.
I think the thing I love about anticipation, even when it is filled with fear or dread, is that it means something is going to happen. Something is going on, something important. In many ways, the feeling of anticipation reminds me that I am alive.
Sometimes the feeling of anticipation, especially when fear is involved, can almost overwhelm me and make me not appreciate what is going on around me. Sometimes I put so much importance on what is coming that I forget to stop and revel in it. This often happens with stuff that, in the end, doesn’t really matter, like sporting events or the release of a new movie, like the new Star Wars movie coming out in December. Sometimes it sets unrealized expectations so high that nothing can match what is in my mind.
Anticipation often means something new is about to happen. What new things is God doing in your life? What are you anticipating? What are you anticipating that causes you fear? Remember that God is in the midst of it. God is there to remind you that you are not alone when you are filled with fear, that you will be given strength. When you are anticipating something joyous, remember that God is there to help you appreciate what is about to happen. Most of all, because of the saving grace of Jesus Christ, we can anticipate that day when we will be brought to our heavenly home. Maybe our whole life is all about anticipating that final gift of glory.
No matter you are anticipating today, remember that the Lord is there for you. For that we can say, “Thanks be to God!” Amen