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Carly Simon sang about it in 1971, and Heinz used her song to promote the thickness of its ketchup in 2010. It means an “expectation of something to happen” and “a feeling of excitement about something that is going to happen.” For several reasons, that has been the word that has been circulating through my mind for the past several days.

My husband and I drove from northwest North Carolina down to Jacksonville, Florida the first weekend of February 2021 to attend a wedding. As I was packing, I made sure to include an audio book I’d been anticipating listening to, and I was confident it would be something my husband would enjoy, as well. I generally prefer renting a car to save wear and tear on our personal vehicles, and to have someone else responsible in the event of a breakdown. So, after getting through the heavy traffic of the Charlotte area and picking up fast food for lunch to eat on our way, I pulled out the first CD of the audio book. And, to my disappointment, the rental car did not have a CD player. Oh, it had a fancy radio system with a long list of Sirius channels available, but no CD player. Sigh.

While continuing our drive south, we decided to treat ourselves to a steak meal with all the fixings for dinner. Unfortunately, we didn’t see any road signs or billboards advertising any of the popular steak restaurants once we were ready to eat. The last stretch of Georgia into north Florida doesn’t offer much in the way of “fine dining,” so we finally settled on eating at a Denny’s. Since I had been anticipating sinking my teeth into a mouth-watering, juicy steak the entire drive, I held onto my dream by ordering a steak. The flavor of Denny’s steak was good, and I’ve eaten worse, but the reality in no way met up to the steak for which my mouth had been anticipating.

Since our weather in North Carolina had been cold and rainy of late, I anticipated going south for some warmer weather. Afterall, friends of mine had recently spent a week in Central Florida just a couple of weeks prior, and they enjoyed beautiful, sunny weather in the mid 70’s. So, my anticipation of packing a pair of capris and flip flops to take a stroll on the beach was not out of the realm of reality. But as I checked the Jacksonville weather reports prior to packing, I realized my wish was not meant to be. We did make it to the beach, but we were bundled up in jackets and carrying umbrellas.

While at the wedding, the word “anticipation” continued swirling through my mind. Needless to say, there is always anticipation on the part of the bride and groom as they say their “I do’s.” Even though they might be anticipating the “and they lived happily ever after” outcome following their nuptials, there’s a good reason why wedding vows include phrases such as “for better or for worse,” “for richer or for poorer,” and “in sickness and in health.” Marriage isn’t a fairy tale. It has its ups and downs. It has its struggles. It has its hard times. So, the anticipation of saying their “I do’s” is typically about the wonderfully sweet, romantic sides of the relationship and seldom the hardships that will eventually show up. 

My husband and I both love football, so we were excited that our weekend would conclude with watching the Super Bowl back in the comforts of our home. The sports world was filled with the anticipation of two deserving teams going head-to-head. The teams had proven themselves to be the best in their conference and equally matched, thus the anticipation the game would be a battle until the clock ran out. As it turned out, and a surprise to most watching the game, the game wasn’t as much of a competition as it had been anticipated. One group of fans, I’m sure, turned off the TV feeling disappointed and defeated, while the other side celebrated. In either case, the outcome will eventually take a backseat to other sports interests or life events, and the anticipation experienced prior to the Super Bowl will fade away.

As you can see, life is full of anticipation. However, while we may have hopes of good things happening or expectations of wonderful outcomes, the anticipation of the “good happening” doesn’t always pan out. Sometimes we’re left disappointed and feeling let down. In many instances, the hype of anticipating an event often outweighs the reality.

However, myself along with millions, if not billions, of other Christians around the globe are currently anticipating the return of Jesus Christ. And, you know what? Based on what we’ve been told in the Bible, the reality and lasting results of His return will greatly surpass our anticipation or any thoughts our imagination conjured up about being in heaven. In this case, the anticipation of Christ’s return and spending an eternity in heaven will pale in comparison to the reality. Therefore, the anticipation I’m feeling today is excitement about something that IS going to happen.


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