Each year, I'm surprised by how quickly I transition from looking forward in anticipation of Christmas, to facing the great unknown of the new year. We took down the tree this past weekend, and I felt a little sad. Our home feels empty, and part of me thought, well, now what do I have to look forward to?
This phenomenon isn't new, and it certainly is not limited to anticipation of Christmas. I spend so much time thinking just wait until______ happens. For years, it was just wait until I graduate, just wait until I have a job I enjoy, or just wait until we get married.
I place so much hope in the mere anticipation of an event that once the event happens, I have nothing else in which to find joy. Spending so much time thinking about what my life will be like in the future, I forget to notice what it is like right now. This is dangerous for at least two reasons. First, I'm missing out on Christ's very real glories in the present. Secondly, this Until Mentality affects my view of God. I begin to think I don't see Him working now, but maybe He'll move when______. The reality is that He's always working, whether I'm in the darkest or happiest moments of my various anticipations.
I read this today:
Seeing and sharing in God's glory is our ultimate hope through the gospel of Christ. Hope that is really known and treasured has a huge and decisive effect on out present values and choices and actions. Get to know the glory of God. Study the glory of God, the glory of Christ, the glory of the world that reveals the glory of God, the glory of the gospel that reveals the glory of Christ. Treasure the glory of God above all things. Study your soul. Know the glory you are seduced by, and know why you treasure glories that are not God's glory. John Piper
And I would add: Get to know the glory of God in your life right now—not after you have a baby, or three. Not after the kids graduate, not after you buy a house, downsize, or find a church you love. God's glory doesn't fit within the confines of the Until Mentality, or any other confines we try to apply to it. Instead, may we choose to really know and treasure the hope of Christ and let it dismantle any overemphasis of anticipation. Then, when a life-defining moment passes me, perhaps with less fanfare than I, ahem, anticipated, I'm not stuck without joy.
But will we have lived in the fullness of our salvation during our time on earth? Or will we have merely passed through, missing the joy of keeping company with God? Jennifer Dukes Lee
All that said, anticipation of heaven and Christ's return are two very wonderful things to anticipate. For all the other anticipations in this life, I want to approach them with a right heart attitude. Remember my post about tuning my heart? It's probably time for another tune-up. There's no better time than now, a time of beginnings, a time where the past is fading, but the present hope of Christ is here, all around, right now and forevermore.