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)

I am a sucker for sentimental commercials. So when Heinz ketchup promoted their product with Carly Simon’s 1971 classic song, Anticipation, I was all in.

Do you remember the commercial?

As a smiling grandmother slowly pours thick, rich, tasting ketchup onto a grilled hamburger, her concerned granddaughter looks on, longingly as Carly sings ‘anticipation, anticipation … it’s making you wait. It’s keeping you waiting. And then, finally, as the ketchup pours out the voice says, ‘its slow good!’

You can refresh your memory here on youtube.

I’ve thought about this experience recently, as waiting seems to have grown more frustrating in our hyper-connected world. I have a smartphone that can message me instantly, and an Amazon Prime account that guarantees same day delivery. I wait for little, so how can it surprise me when I grow vexed having to wait for … anything?

Waiting Is Part of Being Human

Jason Farman, an associate professor at Yale University has suggested, astonishingly, that waiting has a positive, humanizing quality. He comments:

Waiting isn’t an in-between time. Instead, this often-hated and underappreciated time has been a silent force that has shaped our social interactions. Waiting isn’t a hurdle keeping us from living our lives to our fullest. Instead, waiting is essential to how we connect as humans .. 1

In short, to live as a human is to wait, and to wait is to live in community in your waiting. So often, when we wait, we see it as a hindrance to our time (which it is). But, as we wait, we are connected to others, from immediate family to co-workers and classmates to even the person in front of us driving too slow, even as we long for the wait to end.

Which brings us to Advent. 

Advent means “coming”. There are two aspects: preparation and anticipation. Reflective preparation each Christmas as we celebrate the birth of Christ and anticipation of Christ’ second advent when as promised He returns again.

Advent is anticipating

God’s people have always been an anticipating people.  They waited for the promised Savior to be born, and now we anticipate His return. Today, while we wait, we’re left to feel the ache and anticipation for a better world where Jesus reigns and sin and sighing is forever gone! 

Of course, waiting isn’t fun. Sometimes it’s downright painful. 

But to miss the goodness of waiting is to miss the anticipation of what we wait for together, and to instead settle for annoyance.

Friends, this Christmas, as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ, let me invite you to anticipate the return of Christ with others as well. We’re anticipating the restoration of all things. We’re also waiting with others as we do, sharing our longing for the wait to be over. 

“ … in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.” ~1 Corinthians 15:52

Until then, may we love one another as we anticipate well.

Merry Christmas!