The Lost Art of Anticipation

We live in a culture that is all about instant gratification. If we want something – almost anything – we can just go get it right now, if we have enough money or credit to buy it.  Life has not always been this way.

Consider food. Not so long ago people had no access to fresh fruit or vegetables in winter. Salad was a thing of summertime, as were berries and melons. Winter food was preserved from summer’s bounty, and by the time the first crops ripened in the late Spring, people had been anticipating their deliciousness for months. Anticipation was built into our food supply.  Now we don’t even consider it odd that we can eat mangos in Oregon in December.

The same thing has happened with clothing, entertainment, and products of all kinds – even human relationships. There are just a few rituals remaining in our culture that still give us opportunity for the gift of anticipation.  

I heard a man describe how he decided to surprise his wife with a dream vacation. He was looking at destination guides, shopping for hotels, and planning their outings, with the intention of basically kidnapping her to board a plane one morning.  But as he was planning he realized that half of the fun was in the anticipation. So he surprised her in advance and allowed her the added joy of looking forward to their special trip.

Some of the best moments are the ones just before.  Just before the roller coaster crests the peak of the track. Just before unwrapping the present. Just before the kiss. Just before biting into a piece of Sweet Life Raspberry Rhapsody chocolate cake. The “just before” moments make what follows even sweeter.

Advent is the “just before” season leading into Christmas. But sometimes we allow the trappings of the season to become a burden of busyness. We can become so focused on seasonal chores that little space is left for anticipation. Suddenly Christmas is upon us and before we can settle in to enjoy it, Christmas has passed us by.

In this Advent season, give yourself the gift of anticipation. Let the Christmas lights and holiday jingles and even the extra chores prompt hope and expectation within you. Relish this ‘just before’ moment.

Only 21 more days!



~ by churchplantchat on December 5, 2009.

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