Whether the holiday season puts us in a funk or really excites us, there is most certainly a latent anticipation in our thinking. Either positive or negative, we are anticipating, it cannot be avoided.
Anticipation puts us square in the face of a considerable reality. We are free to reject, ignore or embrace our own advent in life, but we cannot avoid the subjequent anticipation that comes with that choice. Either we chose the best possible hope for life, or we suffer diminished anticipation.
Even the most apathetic or depressed person has anticipation, though it may be simplistic as anticipating lunchtime, or grim as anticipating death. But if you actually think about it, isn’t the reduction of anticipation really just another way of describing apathy and depression, a way of saying a person has diminished hope.
All world religions and even cults make a play at the “Holiday Season.” It’s like the winter solstice signifies something for all people regardless of their system of faith.
On a basic note, the days start getting longer on December 21st and so the deepest part of winter is over and the optimism of warm days and the renewal of spring is on the forefront.
On a commercial note, our stores use the holidays to pay their bills by exploiting generosity and gift giving as much as possible.
And on a spiritual note, Christians celebrate “advent” or “the coming” of a savior and king into the world. It’s really too bad that this is so often obscured from society as it is buried in all the noise.
But the biblical idea that even though this world has many problems and issues, it not only contains the memory of something wonderful and beautiful, but a leader has come on the scene with radical ideas that have the potential of making this place into something totally new, a place where heaven and earth meet, and where all sad things become untrue.
If a person were to let himself or herself really hope for such a thing, apathy and depression could slough off of us. Hope could be renewed in our fellow man, and effort could be applied in simple ways that could transform everything we touch.
That’s a powerful anticipation. An advent. Of course, we can always just anticipate our credit card bill, and a dysfunctional family gathering, and death as the only escape from it. It’s not like we don’t have the option in front of us.