Anticipation is half the gratification.
That’s one of the top ten phrases I heard as a kid from the adults in my family. From my parents, and from my grandparents- for a while it was like the family motto… we should have had it engraved on our family crest!
Obviously, the time we most often heard this was Christmas. We’d go up north to my grandparent’s house in the north of Wisconsin – cold, snow, ice, sledding, cutting down a little Charlie Brown Christmas tree from their property, my brother and I staying up to watch “A Christmas Carol” at 10, so that Scrooge’s change of heart comes right at midnight Christmas Eve… and presents! The presents from two loving sets of grandparents, aunt and uncle, mom and dad…
We’d be so keyed up about our gifts and the excitement of opening them, and it seemed every adult was ready with the: “anticipation is half the gratification, kids!” Whatever. Give me my gift.
Fast forward to being an adult in today’s world of instant gratification and I personally have lost the fine art of waiting. I hate lines, I hate traffic, I hate that I have to wait 3-5 business days for my book delivery. I let my son chop the meat for our meal the other day and had to fold my arms to keep myself from reaching in and doing the job for him because he was taking so long.
Anticipation is half the gratification? Hard to even realize the truth in this when we never have to wait.
Now let’s take it a big step up. Ever waited on God? Ever waited for a prayer to be answered? Ever prayed, “even so, come Lord Jesus!” in the midst of the pain of the world? Confusion about why my dad had to be taken at such an early age, or why my friend has to live through a breakdown in her marriage or why a friend has to struggle with an intense time of financial difficulty brings about an impatience to know the answers.
It’s why I love Luke 2:25: “Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel…” He had been promised that he would see the Messiah, but he had to wait. And while he was waiting? “He was righteous and devout.” He kept believing what he had been told; he kept showing up. He was righteous and devout because he knew the promise would be kept. (And it was kept!)
Our promise today? Eternal life with Jesus. Eternal heaven. Eternal joy. The pain and suffering of this world pale in comparison – hard to understand when we are in the midst of waiting. It also doesn’t mean we won’t feel pain or feel persecution… it means we hold on to the hope that we have in Him. He is there in our waiting.
Anticipation is half the gratification? Even so, come Lord Jesus!