Webster defines anticipation 1. Look forward to, esp. with pleasure. 2. Use foresight to deal with. 3. Predict. I would like for us to think of the word in the first definition. Sometimes we look forward to things with great pleasure.
During Christmas many children (and adults) look forward, with pleasure, to the day they will receive gifts. They have made a list and are anticipating that the things on their list will be given to them. Others are just looking forward to receiving anything.
For years the Jews lived in anticipation of a coming Messiah. He would be their ruler and deliverer. Isaiah 9:6 states, "For a child shall be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on his shoulders; and his name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace." As we read through the gospels we see that this Messiah came. However the people did not recognize him. John tells us, "He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him." (1:11) They rejected and had the Messiah, the one they anticipated coming, put to death on a cross.
Peter tells the Jews this same Jesus they had crucified was both "Lord and Christ". (Acts 2:36) The word Christ means Messiah. Wouldn’t it be awful to live in anticipation of something and then not recognize it when it came?
Today as Christians we live in anticipation. Ours is the fact that Jesus is coming again. Each day we think that Jesus will come back to take the faithful to heaven to live with Him and His Father. Or at least we should live in anticipation of this.
The angels told the apostles that Jesus, "...will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven." (Acts 1:11) Paul told the Thessalonians that when Jesus came the dead shall be raised first and then those that are alive (who have obeyed Jesus and are faithful to Him) will be gathered to Him in the air and will forever be with Him. (1 Thess. 4:13-17)
As Christmas approaches and we anticipate many things lets not lose sight of the greatest of all things—the coming of Jesus. As Paul said in 1 Cor. 16:22 "Maranatha" "Lord come!"