The Posture of Constant Anticipation
On Christmas Eve night, children go to bed wide eyed and mystified, excited about what they might receive the following morning beneath all the wrapping paper. Every parent goes to sleep knowing the rhythm the following morning will likely take on and yet, are likely still ready to watch their children open all their gifts and watch the joy erupt as they open expected or unexpected gifts.
Maybe you do Santa. Maybe you don’t. Maybe you go to church on Christmas Eve. Maybe you don’t go to church on Christmas Eve. Maybe you have numerous traditions on your radar year after year: ginger bread houses, finding your Christmas Tree and decorating it with Christmas music playing in the background. Maybe you don’t do the traditional things for whatever reason. But no matter what, everyone carries with them an expectancy that the last month or so of the year will bring about the plot twist they’ve been waiting for and that Christmas morning will hold all the gifts that overflow ending in love.
Noun. An expectation or prediction.
Other words: expectancy, excitement, suspense.
Over a very real period of time this past year, I learned to shut anticipation in my life down as a means to save myself from the disappointments that nearly always came because I wasn’t speaking my anticipations out loud. Then, for an unexpected period of time at the end of the year, a glimmer of hope in my spirit started screaming anticipation again.
Telling me that things will change, that there is a possibility of it.
To be honest, after this year, I really needed to be reminded of that. I really needed to be reminded of the reason for the season. In it’s own time, the ending of the year brought about peace like none other I have experienced before. It brought about greater joy with my immediate family than I could have ever hoped for.
A very real conversation happened in the middle of the night mid-December:
What if you lived in constant anticipation of good happening daily?
Are you asking me to expect good things?
Constant anticipation of the good things happening daily.
Even after all this disappointment?
I am calling you to live in constant anticipation and to obey.
I rolled over and went back to sleep. The following morning I decided to randomly listen to the radio and a song by Sidewalk Prophets called What a Glorious Night played on the christian radio I just happened to be listening to and Linus’s voice talking to Charlie Brown blared through the speakers:
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them and they were so afraid. And the angel said unto them, ‘fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you, you shall find the babe wrapped in cloths, lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and goodwill toward men. That’s what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown.
And you know what I did? I smiled listening to the song that followed about the story of Jesus being born. And new anticipation planted itself in my soul like a root. I looked up and told God that morning with a sigh: Fine, but this isn’t going to be fun.
And he replied I didn’t say it would be fun, I said to obey me.
See, my track record with anticipation and expectation has only lead me to hurt in the past. The lie here is that if I over-anticipate, it will only land me in disappointment and greater wait. But the truth is that if I anticipate good things and think them, then good things will follow. If I work hard to make what’s important to me a part of my life, then what’s important will follow.
If you want something to happen, you have to go after it, after all.
Writing, Deeper Relationships with my family and the people in my life, and better Discipline and Time-Management. Most of these things require a high level of self awareness and knowing what I personally need. Achieving a dream like writing and growing a following requires a 50/50 schedule outside of regular work. A schedule of alone time and also being around people in order to actually tell the stories I want to be telling the other percentage of the time. It requires that my life actively be lived, to risk my own failure and hurt, as opposed to passively living and staying safe.
Most of this is always easier said than done, though. Anticipation is safer to me when I haven’t spoken my hopes and dreams out into the air like a bird. But anticipation is far greater an asset to me when it is communally shared and worked on with others beside me.