What is the role of anticipation in preparing for Christmas? | University of Portland

What is the role of anticipation in preparing for Christmas?

“On that day…” is a phrase that features in many of the first readings through the beginning of the Season of Advent. The Season starts with a sense of anticipation. Those using the readings are taken into the Book of Isaiah and the longings of the people of Israel for the coming of the day of the Lord – the day when many of the anxieties and struggles of life are brought to a peaceful resolution. The readings point to a longing that Christians understand as finding fulfillment in the birth of Jesus, celebrated on Christmas. They also point to a longing that remains in our hearts to this day.

Jesus did come into the world in a manger one day in Bethlehem. Yet a return is awaited, a return in glory when the fullness of the kingdom of God is to be made manifest in its fullness. It is a return that will bring about the justice and peace and life that our hearts long for. The Season of Advent then seeks to draw our longing to the foreground and awaken a greater awareness of the anticipation that we hold in our hearts for the fullness of life that God seeks to draw us into. Consider the many aspects of this season leading up to Christmas – even the aspects that may seem to some as getting into Christmas before it is even Christmas. Throughout are images, songs, and emotions that point ahead with a bit of nostalgia for a something that we long for. Throughout is a sense of anticipation for something that we might not even be able to name. Throughout is an anticipation for the fullness that is yet to come, a fullness we long for and eagerly await its arrival.