We’re just about to mid-December, and it’s an exciting time of year!
There are lots of words we could use to describe these weeks leading up to Christmas.
Frantic. Joyful. Crazy. Cheerful. Busy. Sparkly. Commercialized.
We can all likely relate to most of those. But the word I’ve been focusing on during this season is anticipation.
It’s that feeling you had as a child in the days leading up to Christmas. There was total excitement about what was coming on December 25th. You were filled with hope that one particular box under the tree held exactly what you’d asked for.
Perhaps we still experience some of that Christmas anticipation today. Let’s face it, though – it’s more likely to be the excitement we hope to see on our children’s faces when they open that special gift than it is about what we ourselves are receiving.
But as we move beyond the giving and receiving of gifts, I hope we take a few minutes to really anticipate the celebration of Jesus’ birth.
Anticipation is the act of looking forward. It’s expecting something good to happen. It includes an eagerness and an expectancy about what’s going to take place.
It reminds me of what can happen when we as women are in a serious dating relationship. At some point, you begin to anticipate that this special guy is going to ask you to marry him. You don’t know exactly when or where or how, but you know you’ve reached that point in the relationship.
This example reminds us that anticipation also involves an element of preparation. Because you believe something is going to happen, you do something to get ready. In this case, maybe you dress up and do your hair every time you get together. After all, you want to look nice since you never know when he might pop the question – and there are likely to be pictures involved!!
I think about the Jewish people who for so many years looked forward to the birth of the Messiah. They believed God’s promise to them and spent a long time anticipating His arrival.
One of those people we know about specifically is Simeon. We read about him in Luke 2:25-32.
“And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.
And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.”
What an exciting day for Simeon when what he had been anticipating came to pass! Not only did God fulfill all those Old Testament prophecies for the entire nation of Israel, but He kept His promise to this one individual.
We have a lot to anticipate in these next couple of weeks. Enjoy the Christmas parties, the gifts, the family gatherings, and some yummy foods.
But let’s make time to anticipate the celebration of Jesus’ birth. Let’s do some preparing of our hearts spiritually.
Maybe that looks like doing an Advent reading or devotional every day. (I use Ann Voskamp’s The Greatest Gift.) It could just mean dedicating a few minutes each day to getting still and being quiet long enough to ponder what Christ’s coming really meant for our world and for you as an individual.
Look forward. Be ready. For unto us a Savior is born.
P.S. After writing this post, I looked up previous Christmas posts I’d written to link up below. And do you know what I posted about around this time last year? The word anticipation. Guess I still need to work on my Christmas focus!
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- Don’t Let the Kids Be the Only Ones Anticipating Christmas
- 7 Ways to Prepare Your Heart for Christmas
- Unwrap the Gift of Peace This Christmas