I have never been good at understanding the lyrics of songs. I remember one song in particular by Kenny Rogers in which I thought he was singing, “You picked a fine time to leave me Lucille, with four hundred children and a crop in the field,” which makes sense. I would leave, too, if there were four hundred children. Another song that I just now found out I was singing wrong is Anticipation by Carly Simon. I always thought it was “Anticipation is making me crazy”, but in actuality it is “Is keeping me waiting”.
I am back to teaching the Elementary class at church on Sundays. Their prayer request the last two weeks is that time speeds up so they can get to Christmas faster. The anticipation is driving them crazy and keeping them waiting. As I led the prayer for them, I realized that anticipation is what the entire saga of God’s people is about.
For thousands of years, God’s people waited – anticipated – the coming of the Messiah. Then they anticipated his ascent to the throne. And now we all anticipate the return of the Messiah. And that anticipation is driving us crazy and keeping us waiting.
Some people wait better than others. Dr. Seuss summed it up pretty well, I think, in his book Oh The Places You’ll Go.
You can get so confused
that you’ll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles cross weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place…
…for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.
Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.
Dr. Seuss goes on to explain that that sort of waiting is NOT for his reader, and neither is it for God’s people. Anticipation is more than waiting. Anticipation is eager, yearning, longing, enthusiastic, fervent, and hopeful.
Christmas is a great time to remind ourselves that waiting does end in answered promise. A Messiah came. God’s word is true and trustworthy. And a Messiah will return.
We do not wait. No. . . We anticipate!
Come Lord Jesus!
But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord,
I wait for God my Savior;
my God will hear me. Micah 7:7 NIV